PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Democrat Ed Pacheco announced Tuesday he is suspending his campaign for Rhode Island’s 2nd Congressional District seat, becoming the first candidate to exit the party’s crowded primary.

Pacheco, a former state representative and state party chairman, began discussing a potential bid for the 2nd District seat almost immediately after longtime incumbent Jim Langevin made his surprise retirement announcement back in January.

But the landscape has changed significantly since the days just after Langevin’s announcement, when it wasn’t clear whether any big names would seek the Democratic nomination.

Since then, General Treasurer Seth Magaziner has abandoned a bid for governor to run for Congress instead, quickly raising over $750,000 and piling up union endorsements. Sarah Morgenthau, a wealthy and well-connected Democrat, has also jumped into the race, as have five others: Omar Bah, Joy Fox, Cameron Moquin, Michael Neary and David Segal.

In a statement Tuesday, Pacheco said he had been “humbled by the number of family, friends and neighbors who have offered their support,” but had determined it would not be enough.

“Recognizing the amount of resources necessary to run a competitive campaign, I’ve concluded it would be extraordinarily difficult to raise the money in this election cycle,” he said. “This experience signals for me the need for campaign finance reform, leveling the playing field for everyday Americans to participate in our democracy.”

During an appearance last month on WPRI 12’s Newsmakers, Pacheco had said he expected to raise a six-figure sum by the quarterly fundraising deadline coming up March 31, but acknowledged he wouldn’t come close to the totals Magaziner has been touting.

Fox, a former Langevin staffer and communications professional, said Tuesday afternoon that Pacheco was “absolutely right” to express concern about the role of big money in the 2nd District race.

“When millionaires can just move in and decide they’ll speak for us, how can we expect everyday Americans to make our voices heard?” Fox asked in a statement.

Pacheco’s exit leaves seven Democrats working to secure the Democratic nomination to succeed Langevin. (Segal, unlike the others, has not yet formally kicked off his campaign, but he is actively fundraising.) Three Republicans are also running: Jessica de la Cruz, Allan Fung, and Bob Lancia.

“As a lifelong Democrat and former chairperson of the R.I. Democratic Party, you can be assured I will do my part to send a Democrat to Congress in 2022,” Pacheco said Tuesday. “Fortunately, we have several talented candidates seeking the Democratic nomination. I look forward to continuing to advocate for the issues that motivated me to consider running for Congress in the first place.”

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