Rhode Island State House

Former Central Falls Mayor James Diossa, a Democrat, announced today that he’s running for General Treasurer, setting up a potential general election with former Cranston Mayor Alan Fung.

Both former mayors were term-limited, and both have ambitions of holding statewide office. Fung, who twice ran unsuccessfully for governor, has strongly indicated his interest in running for Treasurer.

Diossa was among the finalists to replace Gov. Dan McKee as Lieutenant Governor, after McKee assumed the governorship upon former Gov. Gina Raimondo’s departure for Washington and the Biden administration. McKee, however, chose Providence City Councilwoman Sabina Matos.

Diossa also represents the growing influence of Latinos on statewide politics, and particularly the Democratic Party. Besides Diossa, other Latinos have either announced their candidacies for statewide office or are expected to run. 

Two Latinos have announced for governor – Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea and Luis Munoz. While Matos has not officially announced her candidacy for Lieutenant Governor, it was expected that she was chosen to not only fill out the term, but to run with McKee on an unofficial ticket (in Rhode Island the Governor and Lieutenant Governor run independently). 

State Senator Cynthia Mendes of East Providence announced her candidacy for Lieutenant Governor. She’s running on an “unofficial ticket” with Matt Brown, a former Secretary of State, who is among five Democrats who have officially announced for Governor. A sixth, McKee, is also expected to run.

Diossa, 36, who now lives in Pawtucket, served two terms as Central Falls Mayor, He previously served on the Central Falls City Council. 

Diossa’s parents emigrated from Columbia in the mid-1980’s. Diossa was born in Central Falls, graduated from Central Falls High School in 2003, and earned a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from Becker College in Massachusetts. He currently works at the Policy Lab at Brown University.

While several Democrats have announced for statewide office, Republican announcements have come slower. Here are the candidates who have announced, or are expected to announce, from a variety of reports. There are others who are likely to enter the 2022 election. 

  • Governor – Gorbea, Munoz, Brown, General Treasurer Seth Magaziner, and Helena Foulkes all have officially announced their candidacies. McKee is expected to announce. No Republican has officially announced.
  • Lieutenant Governor – Democrat Cynthia Mendes has officially announced, as has Republican Paul Pence. Lt. Gov. Sabina Matos has not yet announced but, is expected to do so.
  • Secretary of State – Democrat Rep. Greg Amore.
  • General Treasurer – Diossa and Fung
  • Attorney General – Republican Charles Calenda. Democrat and incumbent Peter Neronha is expected to run for re-election.

Frank Prosnitz

Frank Prosnitz brings to WhatsUpNewp several years in journalism, including 10 as editor of the Providence (RI) Business News and 14 years as a reporter and bureau manager at the Providence (RI) Journal....