WASHINGTON (WPRI) — U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo’s rise on the national stage since she left Rhode Island is spurring speculation about her political future. But there’s at least one path she’s already willing to rule out.
During a wide-ranging interview with 12 News in her office near the White House, Raimondo made clear she has no interest in eventually seeking one of the U.S. Senate seats currently held by incumbent Democrats Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse.
“No,” she responded at the suggestion of a Senate run. “That I can so no to.”
She continued, “I’m not a legislator. We have two amazing senators who are great legislators. That’s not who I am. I like to run things. I like putting a team together, to run things, to get things done — I enjoy that. So I’ll leave the legislating to them.” (For that matter, neither Reed nor Whitehouse has indicated a desire to retire anytime soon.)
Raimondo was much more coy, however, when asked whether she might someday seek the Democratic nomination for president. A number of Beltway pundits have suggested she could be a contender based on her performance as commerce secretary.
After first emphasizing her strong support for President Biden’s re-election in 2024 — “The president is amazing. I love working for him,” she said — Raimondo left the door open to a White House run once her current boss steps aside.
“Not a no, but not a yes, either” is how she characterized her answer, describing herself as “really, really focused” on leading the Commerce Department.
It was nearly two years ago that Raimondo left Rhode Island halfway through her second term as governor to become the nation’s 40th commerce secretary — making her the first Rhode Island politician to be tapped for the cabinet since J. Howard McGrath served under President Truman in the 1940s.
She counts as her biggest victory so far securing passage of the CHIPS Act, which is at bolstering domestic semiconductor manufacturing. She’s won bipartisan praise on Capitol Hill — though she also has her critics.
In the above video, 12 News politics editor Ted Nesi sits down with Secretary Raimondo to discuss her biggest regret from her time as governor, her role in the cabinet, her political future and more. The full interview will air this weekend on WPRI 12’s Newsmakers.
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