Six Democrats, one Republican file to replace Gayle Goldin in RI Senate

Providence

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Six Democrats and one Republican have officially filed to run in the special election to replace Gayle Goldin in the R.I. Senate.

The deadline to declare for the race was Friday at 4:30 p.m. The Providence Board of Canvassers said Democrats Shirley Francis-Fraser, Hilary Levey Friedman, Bret Jacob, Geena Pham, Ray Rickman and Sam Zurier all declared by the deadline, along with Republican Alex Cannon.

The candidates still must submit nominating papers with 100 signatures to be listed on the ballot.

The primary is scheduled for Oct. 5 and the special election is Nov. 2.

Earlier this month Goldin resigned from her seat representing most of the East Side of Providence in Senate District 3 to join the Biden administration.

Levey Friedman and Pham both announced they would jump in the race on the same day Goldin resigned. Levey Friedman, who had already been fundraising for a potential run for office, had been president of the Rhode Island chapter of the National Organization for Women.

Pham is a public school teacher and a member of the Rhode Island Political Cooperative. She’s already picked up endorsements from two of the most progressive members of the Providence caucus, Sens. Sam Bell and Tiara Mack, both Democrats.

Three more Democrats jumped into the race this week: Zurier, an attorney and former Providence city councilman; Rickman, a civil rights activist and former state representative; and Jacob, the director of research and development for Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza, who is also the city’s LGBTQIA+ liaison.

Francis-Fraser had not previously announced a run or opened a campaign account with the R.I. Board of Elections. She could not immediately be reached Friday, but a person by the same name recently applied to be lieutenant governor when Gov. Dan McKee ascended to governor. The résumé submitted with that application says she runs a labor relations and human resources consulting firm.

Cannon is a robotics software engineer who has been involved in Republican politics in Providence for several years, according to Providence Republican Chairman Dave Talan. The GOP didn’t have a candidate for the race as of Thursday night, sending out an email to supporters asking for someone to jump in at the last minute.

None of the three Providence city councilors who live in Senate District 3 opted to run.

The last day to register to vote in the primary is Sept. 5, and those who want to vote by mail must submit an application by Sept. 14.

Endorsements from political parties are due Monday. The members of the Democratic District 3 district committee — appointed by Goldin — are state Rep. Edith Ajello, nonprofit official Rachel Colaice, former state Rep. Linda Kushner, former state Sen. Myrth York, and attorney Jeffrey Levy, Goldin’s husband.

Steph Machado (smachado@wpri.com) covers Providence, politics and more for WPRI 12. Connect with her on Twitter and on Facebook

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