1. Say this for Jim Langevin: he knows how to keep a secret. The 2nd District congressman stunned Rhode Island politics on Tuesday when he announced his retirement, and now his fellow Democrats are scrambling to determine who might be the party’s best candidates to take the seat. At the moment, the landscape seems very unstable; with Nellie Gorbea and Joe Shekarchi both taking an assist, it’s unclear if there will be a big name to be crowned the primary’s top seed. While this presents an opportunity for various state legislators and others considering running, it could also encourage many candidates to come in and stay, making it harder for any individual to capture attention. voters. Kate Coyne-McCoy, chief strategist for the Rhode Island Democratic Party, says time is running out, especially when it comes to fundraising — she estimates a successful candidate will need to raise about $2 million through November to organize a successful campaign. Money isn’t everything, but anyone who wants to run for office will need to consider whether they have the network and stamina to muster the resources to mount a campaign, especially if they’re starting out with little name recognition. . And what will a majority of Democratic primary voters be looking for? A Langevinian establishment democrat? A progressive champion? A business owner? A woman? A person of color? A familiar face? A fee? Eligibility could also figure in the debate among Democrats, as Republicans hope to be able to run for the seat in the fall. The GOP will always face an uphill battle in a blue state like Rhode Island, but the 2nd District is more Republican-friendly territory than the 1st. And a viable GOP candidate might win support from national groups, in part because Rhode Island is a cheaper media market to try to make an impact. Buckle up for this one.
2. So who will run in the 2nd? Among Democrats, former Rep. Ed Pacheco is set to be first out, with a launch scheduled for Monday. Cranston Senator Joshua Miller has had serious discussions and is expected to make a decision next week. Rep. Carol Hagan McEntee told me on Friday she was “very serious” about a potential candidacy, and Rep. Teresa Tanzi said earlier in the week that she would consider a campaign if she didn’t see it emerging. a strong candidate. State Sen. Sam Bell said Friday that the timing was dire for him because his infant son was struggling with health issues. Still, he said, “I’m definitely considering this seriously. … I don’t much like the prospect of being in Congress or running, but if the machine rallies behind a deeply problematic candidate, and it is necessary for me to run, I will.” NEARI union leader Bob Walsh said he was considering running, adding, “I’m also considering what’s best for the Democratic Party to keep this seat in the hands of the Democrats.” Former State Police Col. Brendan Doherty said earlier in the week he was considering it as well, and former State Senator James Sheehan expressed interest in a Friday press release. . Some are encouraging Gabe Amo, a Rhode Island native who is currently serving in the White House, to back down and run for the seat. These are some of the names circulating publicly, but this is by no means an exhaustive list – phone lines are burning as party insiders jot down names and compare notes. Republicans already have a declared candidate in the race – former state Rep. Bob Lancia, who had made a second run for the seat after losing to Langevin in 2020. The focus so far has been on Allan Fung, who has the voter base and fundraising network to be instantly competitive, says he is seriously considering his options. Another possibility: State Senator Jessica de la Cruz, whose profile has risen in recent months as she has spoken out against state coronavirus mandates. She told me on Friday that she was “thinking about it seriously.”