PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Two deep-pocketed national groups that work to help women get elected are coming to the aid of Lt. Gov. Sabina Matos as she seeks to shore up her campaign for Rhode Island’s open congressional seat.

The outside-spending arms of the two groups, Emily’s List and Elect Democratic Women, have partnered on a 30-second TV ad that will begin airing Tuesday. They are spending a combined $400,000 to air the spot on broadcast and cable stations over the next week, with $250,000 from Emily’s List and $150,000 from Elect Democratic Women.

The commercial — entitled “Fighter” or “Relentless,” depending on which group is paying for the airtime — positions Matos as a champion of abortion rights, an especially potent issue in Democratic politics since last year’s U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade.

“When it comes to protecting our reproductive freedom, no one fights and wins like Sabina Matos,” the ad’s narrator says, arguing she has made the issue a priority both as Providence City Council president and as lieutenant governor.

“That’s why pro-choice groups endorse Sabina Matos – the best choice for Congress,” the narrator continues. “Relentless. Leadership. That’s Sabina Matos.”

The ad uses generic footage of Matos that she has posted on her website, and its narration closely mirrors the top message her campaign is asking outside groups to reinforce.

It marks the second week in a row Matos has received major TV air cover from the national groups backing her, after the Congressional Hispanic Caucus BOLD PAC spent $300,000 over the past week on its own ad touting her. The outside spending for Matos is far larger than anything being spent to aid her opponents in the Democratic primary.

The financial support is crucial for Matos, since her own fundraising has lagged her leading primary rivals and she doesn’t have the money to air her own TV ads currently. She has also faced serious negative headlines since mid-July after her campaign workers submitted forged signatures on her nomination papers, an issue the R.I. Board of Elections will take up Tuesday.

Both groups emphasized that they remain committed to Matos as the start of early voting looms on Wednesday.

“We are proud to stand with Matos in this once-in-a-generation election and elect the first Afro Latina to Congress,” Laphonza Butler, president of Emily’s List, said in a statement.

“Elect Democratic Women is confident that she is the best person for the job,” said Florida Congresswoman Lois Frankel, who chairs the group. “We are proud to continue our support for Sabina’s campaign and look forward to serving alongside her in Congress.”

With no public polling in the 1st Congressional District primary, political observers have been left guessing about the strength of the various candidates.

In recent weeks, a growing number of analysts have suggested former state Rep. Aaron Regunberg could be on the rise, thanks to a drumbeat of progressive endorsements and the Matos campaign’s setbacks. He is the only other candidate in the race who has previously run for statewide office, having made a near-miss bid for lieutenant governor in 2018.

Regunberg will begin airing a TV ad on Tuesday featuring an endorsement from Hollywood star Jane Fonda, and has also received $100,000 in support to date from a super PAC underwritten by his father-in-law and mother.

Other well-funded Democratic candidates continue to make moves, as well. On Monday, Jamestown attorney Don Carlson debuted a new TV ad tying his support for restrictions on firearms to a recent gun scare on his daughter’s college campus.

State Sen. Sandra Cano is also airing a new commercial featuring her young daughter, while former White House official Gabe Amo remains in rotation with a spot focused on his service in the Biden and Obama administrations.

Ted Nesi ( 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.