Helena Foulkes replaces campaign manager

Politics

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The newest candidate to enter Rhode Island’s Democratic primary for governor has shaken up her campaign team.

Helena Foulkes, a former CVS Health executive who joined the race in October, has hired political operative Sam Rivers as her new campaign manager, a spokesperson confirmed Thursday. Rivers replaces Emma Caccamo, who had been staffing Foulkes as she kicked off her campaign.

“Following a successful campaign launch, Emma has parted ways with the campaign,” the Foulkes spokesperson, Audrey Lucas, said in an email.

Rivers’ Twitter bio shows he was the campaign manager last year for Zach Iscol, an unsuccessful Democratic candidate for New York City comptroller. It also indicates he previously worked on campaigns for Minnesota congressional candidate Quinn Nystrom, New Jersey Congressman Andy Kim, and Philadelphia Councilmember Jamie Gauthier.

Other key advisers to Foulkes include Jon Romano and Jonathan Blair, who were also top political advisers to former Gov. Gina Raimondo, a longtime Foulkes friend.

Foulkes, a first-time candidate, has begun to increase her media appearances in recent weeks. She is one of six candidates expected to run in the Democratic primary, along with incumbent Dan McKee, former Secretary of State Matt Brown, Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea, General Treasurer Seth Magaziner, and Dr. Luis Daniel Muñoz.

The Foulkes campaign has subtly shifted its branding of the candidate lately, adding her maiden name — Buonanno, which is also her middle name — to its graphics. The Buonanno family has been prominent in Providence for years.

With a deep Rolodex from her years in the business world, Foulkes is widely expected to report a major fundraising haul when she files her first quarterly finance report with the R.I. Board of Elections at the end of this month.

In an interview last week on 12 News at 4, Foulkes declined to say how much she raised as of Dec. 31.

“I won’t be able to share that number yet, but I think people will be excited about it,” she said. “I’m working really hard in the last few months reaching out and finding as many people and it’s gone quite well.”

Foulkes also acknowledged she plans to use some of her own personal wealth to fund her campaign, saying, “I had said from the beginning I would make some personal contributions.”

Ted Nesi (tnesi@wpri.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, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram

Kim Kalunian contributed to this report.

Copyright 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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