PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The 2014 governor's race is still more than 21 months away, but Gov. Lincoln Chafee and prospective candidates General Treasurer Gina Raimondo and Providence Mayor Angel Taveras all finished 2012 with more than $300,000 in their campaign war chests, according to reports filed with the R.I. Board of Elections Thursday.
Chafee, the country's only independent governor, raised $92,287 from Oct. 1 to Dec. 31, boosting his campaign's cash on hand to $315,902 at the close of the year. The governor still owes himself $1.61 million from loans made to his last campaign in 2012.
Despite posting his second-best fundraising quarter since taking office, Chafee trails both Raimondo and Taveras, the two popular Democrats in the state, both of whom are expected to enter the race within the year.
Raimondo raked in $316,732 during the quarter, ending the year with $1.36 million in the bank. The fundraising powerhouse brought in at least $100,000 during every quarter in 2012 and is outpacing her predecessor, 2010 Democratic gubernatorial candidate Frank Caprio, who had just over $1 million in his campaign account at the same time during the 2010 race.
Taveras now has $413,283 in his account after raising $178,700 during the fourth quarter, by far his best showing of the year.
The mayor led the way in political action committee (PAC) donations, receiving $10,700 from more than 20 groups, including the iron workers union, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and Democrats for Education Reform.
The fundraising reports were filed on the same day that a new Public Policy Polling survey showed Chafee faces an uphill battle to win re-election and suggesting he'd have his best chance of winning a second term by running as a Democrat rather than an independent.
The survey of 614 Rhode Island voters found that Raimondo would win anywhere from 32% to 46% of the vote depending on which hypothetical opponents she faces. She was the only candidate to break 40% in any of the 10 ballot tests conducted by the PPP.
At 63%, Taveras still has the highest favorable rating in the state, but in a Democratic primary that includes Chafee the mayor trails both Raimondo and the governor, though he leads Ernest Almonte, the only Democrat who has officially announced his candidacy.
Almonte, the state's former auditor general, reported raising over $65,000 during the fourth quarter of 2012, bringing his total cash on hand to $161,994.
Of the Republicans who have expressed interest in pursuing higher office, Cranston Mayor Allan Fung raised just over $5,500, finishing the year with $108,572. Warwick Mayor Scott Avedesian brought in just $575 and has $45,291 in his campaign account. Former Republican congressional candidate Brendan Doherty, who has also said he is considering running for the state's top job, has not begun raising money for a state campaign.
Moderate Party Chairman Ken Block, who finished fourth in the 2010 governor's race, loaned his campaign $20,000 on Oct. 15.
Aside from Chafee and Raimondo, Rhode Island's three other statewide officeholders raised very little money during the fourth quarter.
Attorney General Peter Kilmartin brought in $6,125, finishing 2012 with $48,424 in his campaign account. Lt. Gov. Elizabeth Roberts and Secretary of State Ralph Mollis, ended the year with $1,243 and $1,646, respectively. Both Roberts and Mollis are term-limited and can't run again next year.
Among other notable candidates and officeholders, House Speaker Gordon Fox ended the year with $163,948 in his account and Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed closed with $47,697.
Democratic Party Chairman Ed Pacheco, who has filed paperwork to run for secretary of state in 2014, quietly raised $10,350 for his campaign, as well. Guillaume de Ramel, another Democrat who says he'll run to succeed Mollis , has $14,864 in his campaign account.
Cumberland Mayor Dan McKee, a Democrat who is considering a run for lieutenant governor, finished the year with $63,030 in his campaign account. Providence City Council President Michael Solomon, who may run for mayor if Taveras runs for governor, has $183,120.
Ted Nesi contributed to this report.
Copyright WPRI 12
ALERT: With snow and freezing rain in tomorrow's forecast, New Englanders should expect a messy morning commute.
Detailed breakdown of the winter storm expected to impact Monday morning's commute and how it could affect you. MORE>>
Massachusetts State Police are investigating after a fiery late-night car crash in Fall River.
Four of five town councilors are facing a recall election in Exeter.
State police are trying to determine why a 32-year-old woman who died after being struck by two vehicles on Route 6 in Yarmouth was walking on the highway.