CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) — One year into his term as mayor of Cranston, Republican Ken Hopkins is considering a bid for higher office.
Hopkins has been speaking with advisors about whether he should run for governor, seek another higher office or stay put in City Hall, according to Anthony Moretti, who managed Hopkins’ 2020 campaign and is now the mayor’s chief of staff.
Hopkins’ potential plans were first reported by The Providence Journal. Cranston switched to four-year mayoral terms in 2012, and since Hopkins’ current term ends in 2024, he could seek higher office this year without needing to give up the mayor’s office.
“He sincerely loves what he’s doing, but he’s been asked on multiple occasions,” Moretti said after speaking with the mayor Tuesday. Asked if Hopkins was forming an exploratory committee, Moretti said it was less formal than that.
“He’s seeking advice from his closest advisors,” Moretti said.
“I love my job in Cranston with much more to do,” Hopkins said in a follow-up text message to 12 News. “I just asked my team to look at it. Nothing more.”
He added that “lots of people” have been urging him to run.
Hopkins, a retired educator, was a Cranston city councilor prior to running for mayor in 2020. He won with 54% of the vote over Democrat Maria Bucci, and had the backing of his predecessor in the mayor’s office, fellow Republican Allan Fung, who was term-limited.
Fung, the Rhode Island GOP’s nominee for governor in 2018 and 2014, lost two bids for the job while serving as mayor. Fung is currently considering a run for state treasurer, but has not formally announced whether he will pull the trigger.
Noting that he is still active as a partner at his law firm, Fung said, “I’ll make a decision and announce it in the appropriate time.” He also said he hasn’t had a conversation with Hopkins about the current mayor’s potential candidacy, but said he would “look forward” to doing so.
The Rhode Island GOP has been seeking a candidate to run against the crowded field of Democrats challenging incumbent Gov. Dan McKee. The Democratic candidates are Matt Brown, Helena Foulkes, Nellie Gorbea, Seth Magaziner and Luis Daniel Muñoz.
One prominent Republican, House Minority Leader Blake Filippi, recently announced he won’t run for governor. David Darlington, the former chairman of the R.I. Turnpike and Bridge Authority, has said he could seek the GOP nomination but has not made a formal announcement.
Ted Nesi contributed to this report.