Raimondo officially enters gubernatorial race

Well known for pension reforms, the general treasurer will face Angel Taveras

City and State Editor
Thursday, December 19, 2013

Rhode Island General Treasurer Gina Raimondo officially announced her candidacy for the Democratic nomination for governor in a video sent to supporters Wednesday.

The decision sets up a competitive race against Mayor Angel Taveras, who announced his candidacy for the party nomination in October. In an early poll conducted by the Taubman Center for Public Policy and American Institutions prior to Taveras’ announcement, the state’s voters gave Raimondo an almost 10 percent lead over her competitor, though the two were the speculated frontrunners.

In the video, Raimondo said her official primary campaign to replace Gov. Lincoln Chafee ’75 P’14 P’17 will begin next month.

Raimondo, who is from Smithfield, R.I., was elected to her first political office as treasurer in November 2010. Before becoming treasurer, Raimondo founded and worked for the venture capital firm Point Judith Capital.

Raimondo, like Taveras, is a Harvard graduate. She received her law degree from Yale and attended Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar.

As treasurer, Raimondo was known for reforming the state’s pension system with the Rhode Island Retirement Security Act, which passed in November 2011. In her announcement video, Raimondo cited her role in reforming the retirement system for state employees as part of her motivation for seeking the governor’s seat.

In a statement released by his campaign press team, Taveras  said he “welcomed” Raimondo to the primary race, which he described as “a campaign about restoring hope to the people of Rhode Island.”

He reiterated his call for Raimondo to sign the “Rhode Island People’s Pledge.” Raimondo and Taveras have previously debated the pledge to not accept campaign contributions from super PACs and other third-party organizations. Taveras called the pledge “an agreement that reflects the highest ideals of the Democratic party” in the press release.

Though Wednesday marked the formal declaration of her candidacy, Raimondo has been leading the other gubernatorial candidates in fundraising over the past several months. Her campaign has already raised over $2.3 million, a record amount of fundraising in a non-election year for a Rhode Island elected official, The Herald previously reported.

Both Raimondo and Taveras received favorable ratings in a Nov. 19 WPRI poll, though a larger percentage of Democrats evaluated Taveras’ job performance as “good” or “excellent,” compared to Raimondo, The Herald previously reported.

Another likely contender for governor is Clay Pell, grandson of U.S. Sen. Claiborne Pell, who has not yet announced his candidacy and has never before run for political office. Pell has filed a notice of organization with the R.I. Board of Elections — a step toward declaring candidacy in Rhode Island, according to a Nov. 18 article from Rhode Island Public Radio.

The winner of the Democratic nomination will run against one of the Republican contenders — Cranston Mayor Allan Fung and former Moderate party member Kenneth Block — in the general election.

If elected, many of the candidates would be historic selections for governor. Raimondo would be the state’s first female governor, Taveras would be the first Latino and Fung would be the first Asian-American. A Democrat has not been elected governor since 1990.

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