PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Democrat Helena Foulkes has emerged as the financial leader in the race for Rhode Island governor, with barely four months left before voters go to the polls, according to newly filed reports with the R.I. Board of Elections.
Foulkes, a former CVS executive and first-time candidate, reported $1.5 million cash on hand in her campaign account as of March 31. She raised just over $900,000 during the first quarter, and also loaned her campaign another $400,000 on top of the $100,000 she gave previously.
Foulkes’ campaign spent $637,000 during the quarter, shelling out big money on consultants as she prepares to roll out paid advertising this spring.
Foulkes is one of four Democrats challenging incumbent Dan McKee, who assumed office last year when Gina Raimondo left to join President Biden’s cabinet. The party’s other candidates are Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea, former Secretary of State Matt Brown and community activist Luis Daniel Muñoz. The primary is Sept. 13.
McKee was in second place financially among the candidates, behind Foulkes. He reported nearly $1.1 million on hand as of March 31, after raising $427,000 and spending $178,000 during the quarter.
McKee’s biggest expenses were $44,500 to LB Strategies, his fundraising consultant, and $9,169 to Elias Law Group, a Washington law firm founded by prominent Democratic elections attorney Marc B. Elias.
Gorbea — the only one of the major candidates who didn’t announce her fundraising total in advance — reported $896,000 cash on hand as of March 31. She raised $378,000 and spent about $250,000 during the quarter. Her biggest expenses were with Lake Research Partners, her polling firm.
Brown had $79,000 cash on hand as of March 31, while Muñoz had about $2,000.
On the Republican side, businesswoman and political newcomer Ashley Kalus had $410,000 cash on hand as of March 31. She raised just over $13,000 and loaned her campaign $500,000, allowing her to spend $103,000 during the quarter, including $39,000 with GOP polling firm Public Opinion Strategies.
Last month Kalus became the first candidate for governor to go on the air with TV commercials, which are currently airing as part of a three-week advertising buy. She and the five Democrats are slated to meet on stage this Thursday at the first in-person gubernatorial forum of the campaign.
Four other individuals have filed paperwork with the Board of Elections to raise money to run for governor — Rey Herrera, Zachary Hurwitz, Paul Rianna Jr. and Jonathan Riccitelli. Rianna was the only one of the four to disclose any cash on hand, reporting $393 in his account.
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