Eyewitness News Investigates

Businessman Giovanni Feroce leaning toward GOP run for RI governor

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) - Businessman Giovanni Feroce, the former CEO of jewelry-maker Alex and Ani, said Tuesday he is seriously considering entering the Republican primary for Rhode Island governor but is likely to wait until next year to make a decision.

"I'm leaning more toward doing it," Feroce told Eyewitness News.

"I've always felt that the spring is the right time to announce and be able to dedicate 110% of your day to being serious and running for governor," he said. "That said, I have continuously and fortunately been part of the dialogue."

Feroce is part of an increasingly crowded field of Republicans either already running for governor or strongly considering it.

House Minority Leader Patricia Morgan kicked off her campaign Monday, and Cranston Mayor Allan Fung followed suit on Tuesday. Former state Rep. Joe Trillo said this week he is likely to jump into the race, too. All are vying for the chance to unseat incumbent Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo, who is up for re-election in 2018.

Feroce is no stranger to politics - he served as a state senator and made an unsuccessful bid for lieutenant governor in the 1990s. He argued his background in business and the military would make him stand out from others in the field.

"At the end of the day, the reality is I don't feel that anyone other than me is really discussing what Rhode Island needs to look like in 25 years, and that's what I bring to the table," he said. "It's a vision."

Feroce has faced financial setbacks since leaving Alex and Ani and becoming CEO of Benrus, a company known for military-inspired watches and backpacks. The Providence Journal has reported he lost his Newport mansion and was fined for failing to have workers' compensation, among other problems.

Ted Nesi (tnesi@wpri.com) covers politics and the economy for WPRI.com. He writes Nesi's Notes on Saturdays and hosts Executive Suite. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook

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