GOP has a gubernatorial candidate – Ashley Kalus

Ashley Kalus, a transplant from Illinois, as expected officially kicked off her campaign today to become the Republican nominee for governor. 

Kalus, 39, who moved to Newport less than a year ago and registered to vote in Rhode Island in January, promised to “run a campaign of substance and vision…We need leaders with solutions to make Rhode Island a more affordable to place live, work, and raise a family. We need parental involvement in our kids’ education. And we need to fund the police and keep our neighborhoods safe.”

In her announcement, she was critical of state leaders, who she said were motivated by insiders and lobbyists, promised parents that they would be able to pick the school of their choice for their children, and said she will work to lower health care costs.

Kalus is the only Republican to officially announce for governor, 

Meanwhile, Democrats face a robust primary election, with five announced candidates —  Gov. Dan McKee, Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea, former CVS executive Helena Foulkes, former Secretary of State Matt Brown, and community activist Luis Daniel Muñoz.

Kalus came to Rhode Island from Illinois, where she worked on the 2014 campaign of former Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner, a Republican. She served as Rauner’s director of public engagement.

Pacheco quits Congressional race

Democrat Ed Pacheco, a former state representative and party chairman, today said he is suspending his campaign for Rhode Island’s Second Congressional District seat. Pacheco and several other Democrats, including General Treasurer Seth Magaziner, had announced their candidates for the seat after incumbent Jim Langevin announced his retirement in January.

“Recognizing the amount of resources necessary to run a competitive campaign, I’ve concluded it would be extraordinarily difficult to raise the money in this election cycle,” Pacheco said. “This experience signals for me the need for campaign finance reform, leveling the playing field for everyday Americans to participate in our democracy.”

Magaziner, appearing on WBLQ radio’s It’s Your Business today, said he too believes the race will be expensive, and called for greater campaign finance reform, with a goal of public campaign funding. He praised Pacheco and said he was hopeful he would continue in public service.

Magaziner, who switched from the governor’s race to the congressional race upon Langevin’s announcement, had a state campaign fund of more than $1.2 million That money cannot be transferred to a federal race, but donors can be refunded their contributions and redirect it to the congressional campaign. Magaziner has reportedly raised more than $750,000 for his Congressional run.

Other Democratic candidates for the second district seat are Sara Morganthau, Omar Bah, Joy Fox, Cameron Moquin, Michael Neary and David Segal.

Three Republicans are also running: Jessica de la Cruz, Allan Fung, and Bob Lancia.

Diossa names campaign manager

James Diossa, former Central Falls mayor who is running for General Treasurer, has named Robert Craven, Jr., a lawyer at Adler Pollock & Sheehan, as campaign manager, starting in early April. 

Diossa said he has also opened campaign headquarters at 249 Roosevelt Ave., Pawtucket. 

Craven, who lives in Providence, earned a degree in International Affairs from George Washington University, and his law degree from Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law.