PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Congressman Jim Langevin raised far less campaign money than his colleague David Cicilline during the first quarter, putting him at an early disadvantage as they wait to find out if there will only be one seat for the two of them in the next Congress.
Langevin raised $118,000 from Jan. 1 to March 31, according to a report filed Thursday with the Federal Election Commission. Cicilline revealed earlier this week he raised $655,000 during the same period, which his campaign said is a single-quarter record for a Rhode Island U.S. House candidate.
The fundraising gap was also evident in the amount of cash on hand each lawmaker had at quarter’s end, after expenses. While Cicilline increased his available campaign cash from $529,000 on Dec. 31 to $1.1 million on March 31, Langevin only increased his cash from $711,000 to $786,000.
A spokesperson for Langevin declined to comment.
The U.S. Census Bureau is expected to release the new nationwide population numbers by the end of April, and with those will come the reapportionment of the 435 U.S. House seats among the 50 states in order to align with the updated count of where Americans live.
Most experts predict that will result in Rhode Island being reduced to one U.S. House seat for the first time since George Washington was president, with Montana the beneficiary.
“Rhode Island is likely to draw the short straw in the once-a-decade reshuffling of U.S. House seats,” The Washington Post wrote earlier this week, adding: “Rhode Island, now the most overrepresented state in the U.S. House, is likely about to become the most underrepresented.”
In theory, the loss of a seat could force Langevin and Cicilline to battle each other in the 2022 Democratic primary to win the single at-large seat that would remain. In practice, however, most Rhode Island political observers expect one of them to bow out — with campaign cash potentially playing into their calculations.
The two Democrats have steadfastly refused to engage in speculation about what they will do if one of their two seats disappears, insisting that Rhode Island still has a chance to keep both if the state had a more effective Census count than Montana last year.
Langevin, 56, was first elected to represent Rhode Island’s 2nd Congressional District in 2000 and has won re-election 10 times since then. While he has carved out a niche as a cybersecurity expert, he has a lower profile in Washington than Cicilline, who was elected a decade after him.
Ted Nesi (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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