PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Democrat Seth Magaziner pulled in a seven-figure sum in the initial weeks of his campaign for Rhode Island’s 2nd Congressional District, likely cementing his status as the early financial leader in the race.
Magaziner’s campaign said he raised over $1.4 million from mid-January through the end of the first quarter on March 31. The two-term general treasurer abandoned a run for governor to enter the congressional contest after Jim Langevin unexpectedly announced his retirement, and he’s been working to convince donors who backed him at the state level to shift that money into his federal account.
“We are incredibly grateful to the hundreds of Rhode Islanders who contributed to our campaign,” said Katie Nee Zambrano, Magaziner’s campaign manager, adding that it was a record amount for a Rhode Island U.S. House candidate in a single quarter.
Magaziner is one of seven Democrats seeking the party’s nomination to replace Langevin, who has represented the 2nd District since 2001. Only three of the seven have given any indication of how their early fundraising played out.
Former Biden administration official Sarah Morgenthau, a newcomer to Rhode Island politics, said in a statement she ended the quarter with “an excess of $500,000 from a diverse group of people.”
A campaign news release described Morgenthau as “encouraged and humbled by the strong support.” A spokesperson said she raised $420,000 and gave her campaign an additional $100,000 personal loan.
A third Democrat eyeing a run for the seat, former state Rep. David Segal, said he raised roughly $250,000 since forming an exploratory committee in February. Segal has a national network of support from his years running a progressive advocacy organization, Demand Progress.
12 News political analyst Joe Fleming said Magaziner’s $1.4 million start was impressive.
“It shows he has a great fundraising machine, to raise that amount of money for a congressional candidate so quickly,” he said.
Both Morgenthau and Segal are also off to “a good start,” Fleming said, but in both cases he argued they will need to keep raising money to ensure they have the resources to reach voters in the coming months.
A fourth Democrat in the race, former Langevin staffer Joy Fox, said Tuesday she raised over $175,000 during the quarter. Describing herself as “the only Democratic candidate in the 2nd Congressional District with roots in the district,” Fox said she received more than 60% of her support from Rhode Island residents, with nearly half of contributions valued at $100 or less.
“People want government to work for them and their families, and leaders who understand what they’re going through,” Fox said. “When millionaires can just move in and decide they’ll speak for us, how can we expect Rhode Island voices to be heard?”
Fox’s campaign also said it has hired Josh Levin of the firm Square Strategies as a senior advisor.
The other three Democrats running — Refugee Dream Center founder Omar Bah, Providence police officer Cameron Moquin, and former John Kasich staffer Michael Neary — have not offered specifics on their fundraising. (Neary’s campaign has gone dark since his arrest last month in Ohio.)
Candidates aren’t required to file their first-quarter fundraising reports with the Federal Election Commission until later this month.
Among the Republican candidates, former Cranston Mayor Allan Fung raised over $500,000 during the quarter, according to a person with direct knowledge of a finance committee meeting Fung held Sunday.
“Again, in this short period of time, that’s a great amount of money for a Republican,” Fleming said.
On Wednesday, one of Fung’s Republican rivals — state Sen. Jessica de la Cruz — announced she had taken in over $85,000 during the quarter, with $20,000 representing a personal loan and the rest from donors. “I’m so happy about the support I’m getting from small business owners, parents, and regular people from all over Rhode Island,” she said in a statement.
Another Republican candidate — former state Rep. Bob Lancia — has not yet released estimated fundraising totals.
Fleming said Fung’s ability to raise a significant amount of money as a Republican in Rhode Island is another indication that candidates on both sides could be gearing up not only for a contested primary but also for a competitive general election.
“I think the Republicans nationally may look at it as a chance of picking up a seat they never thought they had a chance to pick up,” he said.
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
This story has been updated and expanded.