BURRILLVILLE, R.I. (WPRI) – Just shy of a month after formally launching her bid for Rhode Island’s 2nd Congressional District seat, Republican state Sen. Jessica de la Cruz has suspended her campaign.
“While I was encouraged by the strong grassroots support my campaign received, right now, the best place for me to fight for Rhode Islanders is in the state Senate,” de la Cruz said in a statement Thursday night.
De la Cruz currently represents her hometown of North Smithfield as well as Burrillville and Glocester. She’s in her second term in the Senate.
During her kickoff in mid-March, de la Cruz urged Rhode Islanders to “send a regular working mom to Congress” to succeed longtime Democratic incumbent Jim Langevin, who announced his surprise retirement in January.
“I’m running because as a state senator, every single day my inbox is filled with messages from Rhode Islanders who are struggling to feed their families, to put gas in their vehicles, to pay their bills and make ends meet,” de la Cruz said at the time.
On Thursday, de la Cruz said the decision to exit the race came after some of her supporters asked her to stay in the Senate to “continue supporting important causes like suspending the gas tax, parental rights in education, and our constitutional freedoms.”
“After deep thought, prayer, and conversations with my family, I have decided to suspend my congressional campaign,” she said.
De la Cruz was one of three Republicans in the 2nd District race, along with former Cranston Mayor Allan Fung and former state Rep. Bob Lancia. She threw her support behind Fung on Thursday.
“I believe that Mayor Fung now represents the best chance for Rhode Island to send a Republican to Congress,” she said. “He has my full endorsement.”
Fung responded in a statement of his own, saying he is grateful for de la Cruz’s friendship and support.
“The two of us will work very hard together to elect more Republicans not only in the General Assembly, but in local races across the board,” he said. “I’m very much looking forward to working together with Rhode Islanders of every party to bring common sense solutions to D.C. and tackle some of our biggest challenges when I’m in Congress.”
Fung’s campaign told 12 News earlier this month that he raised over $500,000 during the first seven weeks of his campaign, and national forecasters have suggested he would give the GOP a serious shot at the seat. By contrast, De la Cruz said she took in roughly $65,000 over the same period.
Lancia has yet to announce his first-quarter fundraising total. Earlier this week he tweeted a photo showing himself at an event at Mar-a-Lago where former President Donald Trump made an appearance.
“Senator de la Cruz fills an important role here in Rhode Island standing up for ALL the citizens of this Ocean State in the General Assembly and I wish her well,” Lancia said in a statement Friday. But he made clear he plans to stay in the primary, noting he has been running since long before Langevin announced his retirement.
In the Democratic primary, General Treasurer Seth Magaziner appears to be the early financial leader among the seven candidates running, having raised $1.4 million during the first quarter, according to his campaign. Former Biden administration official Sarah Morgenthau, a newcomer to Rhode Island politics, reported raising over $400,000.
Among the other Democrats, former state Rep. David Segal said he raised roughly $250,000 during the first quarter. Joy Fox, a former staffer to Langevin and Gina Raimondo, raised $175,000. Also running in the Democratic primary are Omar Bah, Cameron Moquin and Michael Neary.