When U.S. Rep. James Langevin, D-RI, who represents the second district, announced last week that he would not run for reelection, it opened a flood gate of speculation of names of Democrats and Republicans who might consider running, and certainly made the 2022 Rhode Island election much more expensive.

The five Democrats expected to be running in the Democratic primary for governor already were raising millions for what is certain to be a very expensive race. Add to that millions more for a Congressional race that some observers suggest could cost candidates as much as $2 million each.

The ability to raise funds, and spend the money wisely, will have a significant impact on these two high-profile campaigns.

Within a few days, Rhode Island candidates and elected officials are required to file their latest campaign finance reports to the Board of Elections, for the reporting period that ended Dec. 31. 

One gubernatorial candidate, Luis Daniel Munoz has already filed his quarterly report, showing a fund balance of just $3,401, after raising $2,688 for the fourth quarter of 2021.

While no other Democratic gubernatorial candidate has filed his or her fourth-quarter reports, their third-quarter reports show robust fundraising: General Treasurer Seth Magaziner was reporting a fund balance of $1,580,419; Gov. Daniel McKee’s fund balance was $800,682; Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea’s fund balance was $749,284, and former Secretary of State Matt Brown reported a fund balance of $59,984. Former CVS executive Helena Foulkes had not yet registered and filed with the Board of Elections. 

Within a few days, we’ll update fundraising totals.

Meanwhile, if any of the candidates had thoughts of using funds for a statewide office for a Congressional race, they can’t. State and federal laws prohibit candidates from moving funds from the state to federal campaigns, or from federal to state campaigns.

No Republican has yet to announce for governor, but two have announced for the second district Congressional seat. Former Rep. Robert Lancia announced several weeks ago, and after the Langevin announcement, State Sen. Jessica de la Cruz of North Smithfield, said she’s running, even though North Smithfield is not in the district.

There’s been speculation about a number of Republicans as well, including former Cranston Mayor Allan Fung, who has already said he’s running for General Treasurer, state Rep. Blake Filippi, with many more expected to consider a run.

Of the Democratic Gubernatorial candidates, none have indicated they would switch to the Congressional race, although Magaziner left the door open.

A number of other Democrats have said they won’t run, including House Speaker K. Joseph Shekarchi, whose statewide campaign fund tops $1.5 million.

Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott, who just resigned as health director, is said to be considering a run for Langevin’s seat, along with several legislators.

Two Democrats have declared their candidacy: former state Rep. Edwin Pacheco, who is also a former state Democratic Party chairperson; and Omar Bah, founder, and CEO of the Refugee Dream Center.

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. Prosnitz began his journalism career as a sportswriter at the Asbury Park (NJ) Press, moving to The News Tribune (Woodbridge, NJ), before joining the Providence Journal. Prosnitz hosts the Morning Show on WLBQ radio (Westerly), 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. Monday through Friday, and It’s Your Business, also on WBLQ, Monday and Tuesday, 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.

Prosnitz has twice won Best in Business Awards from the national Society of American Business Editors and Writers (SABEW), twice was named Media Advocate of the Year by the Small Business Administration, won an investigative reporter’s award from the New England Press Association, and newswriting award from the Rhode Island Press Association.