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Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Magaziner considering run for 2nd District seat after Langevin’s retirement

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — General Treasurer Seth Magaziner is considering whether to abandon his campaign for governor and enter the Democratic primary to replace Congressman Jim Langevin, 12 News has learned.

“I’m flattered by the many people who have encouraged me to consider running for Congress and I share their concern that Democrats need a strong candidate to hold the seat,” Magaziner said in a statement Sunday.

“While I feel I owe it to those who have reached out to consider the possibility, I also believe strongly in our campaign to bring strong economic leadership to the governor’s office and remain in the race for governor at this time,” he said.

Sources said Magaziner has had multiple conversations over the weekend about running in the 2nd Congressional District. The 38-year-old Providence resident lives in the 1st Congressional District, not the 2nd, though candidates are not required to live in the districts where they run. (Democrat David Cicilline has represented the 1st District since 2011.)

A change of plans by Magaziner would be the latest domino to fall after Langevin’s shock retirement announcement rocked Rhode Island politics on Tuesday. Top Democrats have spent recent days in frantic conversations about who might replace the 11-term incumbent on the November ballot, as Republicans argue they have a rare opportunity to win a federal race in Rhode Island.

So far only one Democrat has actually entered the 2nd District primary: Omar Bah, founder of the Refugee Dream Center in Providence. “When Congressman Langevin recently announced his retirement, I saw a great opportunity to once again manifest the amazing opportunities I have had in this country since my arrival here as a refugee,” Bah said in an email Saturday.

Another Democrat, former state Rep. Ed Pacheco, is slated to kick off his campaign Monday. A host of other Democrats are flirting with a run or being encouraged to consider a campaign. (One potential candidate, former R.I. State Police Col. Brendan Doherty, ruled out a bid on Saturday.)

Magaziner is in his second term as treasurer and has spent years laying the groundwork to seek the governor’s office this fall. He is one of five Democrats challenging incumbent Dan McKee in the primary, and has been the financial leader in that race, sitting on nearly $1.6 million in campaign cash as of Sept. 30. (Magaziner cannot use that money for a federal campaign, though he can ask donors to accept refunds of their state-level contributions and then cut new checks to his federal account.)

Another Democratic gubernatorial candidate, former CVS executive Helena Foulkes, has also fielded calls in recent days encouraging her to consider a bid for the 2nd District seat. Her staff has also been unavailable for comment this weekend.

On the Republican side, former state Rep. Bob Lancia was already challenging Langevin before the latter’s retirement announcement, seeking a rematch after he lost in 2020. Former Cranston Mayor Allan Fung has been widely touted as a top-tier recruit for the GOP, and state Sen. Jessica de la Cruz said Saturday she has opened a campaign account “and will make a formal announcement soon.”

Ted Nesi (tnesi@wpri.com) is a Target 12 investigative reporter and 12 News politics/business editor. He co-hosts Newsmakers and writes Nesi’s Notes on Saturdays. Connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram

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