Mystery invite from Matt Brown has RI politicos buzzing

Politics
Matt Brown Newsmakers 3-16-2018_663780

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Is Matt Brown planning a political comeback?

The former gubernatorial candidate, who mounted an aggressive but losing Democratic primary challenge against Gov. Gina Raimondo last year, got Rhode Island’s political class buzzing on Sunday when he blasted out an email invitation to an upcoming event — without offering specifics.

The email said Brown and his wife, Marisa, will be hosting a party at their East Side home on the evening of Oct. 3.

“We will have some news to share, so stay tuned!” the message said.

Political observers immediately began speculating about the possibilities. A primary challenge against U.S. Sen. Jack Reed, who is up for re-election next year? An organized effort to elect progressive General Assembly candidates in 2020? An initiative outside electoral politics?

For now, Brown isn’t saying.

“You’re going to hear something soon,” he told WPRI 12 in a brief phone interview Sunday afternoon, declining to reveal more.

Brown has shaken up Rhode Island politics in the past.

He was only 32 when he defeated incumbent Democrat Ed Inman in the 2002 primary for secretary of state, and was seen at the time as someone with a bright future. But four years later the Yale and Columbia graduate was forced out of the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate after a fundraising controversy. Sheldon Whitehouse went on to win that race.

Brown was largely absent from Rhode Island’s political scene over the next decade, focusing on a group he co-founded called Global Zero that sought to eliminate nuclear weapons worldwide. But he burst back into the spotlight in March 2018 when he announced a surprise run for governor.

Raimondo wound up defeating Brown handily in the September primary, 57% to 34%, but her campaign team was forced to spend time and money defending her record to the Democratic base and answering Brown’s criticisms — while launching a fusillade of their own attacks on Brown.

Ted Nesi (tnesi@wpri.com) is WPRI 12’s politics and business editor and a Target 12 investigative reporter. He is a weekly panelist on Newsmakers and hosts Executive Suite. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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