PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The race to replace Congressman Jim Langevin will shift into higher gear on Friday, as Democrat Sarah Morgenthau becomes the first of the nine candidates to go on the air with a campaign commercial.
Morgenthau, who served in the Biden and Obama administrations, is rolling out a 30-second TV ad titled “Urgency” that decries the leaked U.S. Supreme Court draft decision overturning Roe v. Wade and introduces her to 2nd Congressional District voters. The spot is expected to air throughout the next month as part of a six-figure media buy that begins Friday.
“The Supreme Court is about to overturn Roe v. Wade. Now is the time to send a pro-choice woman to Congress,” a narrator declares at the start of the commercial, before offering basic biographical details about Morgenthau. (Rhode Island has never elected a Democratic woman to federal office.)
Mindy Myers — who ran Sheldon Whitehouse’s 2006 U.S. Senate campaign and later served as his chief of staff — is serving as Morgenthau’s media consultant and produced the ad along with Sarah Zusi, a colleague at Myers’ firm, MZL Media.
Morgenthau also recently hired a campaign manager, Bryan McNamara, who worked as a field organizer on the 2020 Biden campaign and the subsequent George U.S. Senate runoff election.
“I am proud to demonstrate the growing momentum of our campaign and to communicate directly with Rhode Island voters,” Morgenthau said in a statement, adding that she would be “a congresswoman with real experience, who will be ready on day one.”
Morgenthau has the second-most campaign cash among the seven Democrats vying to replace Langevin, with $505,000 on hand as of March 31, according to Federal Election Commission filings. She still lagged well behind General Treasurer Seth Magaziner, who had $1.3 million on hand.
With just four months to go before Rhode Island’s Sept. 13 primary, Morgenthau will be the first Democrat in any major race to start airing campaign commercials. Ashley Kalus, a Republican running for governor, has been on the air since April.
Magaziner’s campaign has not yet said if and when he plans to start a TV ad campaign. His team has been largely ignoring the other Democratic candidates and instead training its fire on the Republican frontrunner, former Cranston Mayor Allan Fung.
Separately on Thursday, Magaziner’s campaign announced it had secured the endorsement of the National Education Association, the 17th union that has backed the treasurer. Former state Rep. David Segal is the only other Democrat with formal union support in the 2nd District primary so far, backed by the Communications Workers of America.
Morgenthau — whose mother Ruth made an unsuccessful bid for the same seat in 1988 — has faced skepticism since entering the race in February because she has never lived full-time in Rhode Island and only registered to vote in the state this past winter. But she has described her family’s Saunderstown summer home as a “constant” in her life, including the site of her wedding.
The other four Democrats running in the 2nd District are former Langevin aide Joy Fox, Refugee Dream Center founder Omar Bah, Providence firefighter Cameron Moquin, and former John Kasich staffer Michael Neary. Bah is holding a campaign kickoff event Thursday evening at the Cranston Portuguese Social Club.
Fung faces former state Rep. Bob Lancia in the GOP primary.
Ted Nesi (email@example.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 and Facebook