Rep. Shekarchi has most campaign cash at RI State House

Politics
Joe Shekarchi_341705

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — For the first time in a long time, Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo is not the state-level Rhode Island politician with the most campaign cash.

That crown now rests on the head of House Majority Leader Joe Shekarchi, D-Warwick, according to newly filed R.I. Board of Elections reports. The No. 2 House lawmaker had $906,000 in his campaign account as of March 31, after raising $153,000 during the first three months of this year.

Raimondo comes in second, well behind Shekarchi with $639,000 on hand, after she blew threw more than $7 million in 2017 and 2018 to fund her successful bid for re-election. The governor raised $411,000 during the first quarter of this year, however, suggesting she could soon retake the top slot.

Shekarchi’s fundraising prowess has made his political ambitions a subject of State House speculation for years. He was discussed as a possible candidate for Warwick mayor or attorney general in 2018, but opted to remain in the House, where he is a leading candidate to succeed Nick Mattiello as speaker someday.

Shekarchi could not immediately be reached for comment Wednesday afternoon.

(Raimondo and Shekarchi have more in common than their ability to raise campaign money from donors: Shekarchi was Raimondo’s campaign manager in her successful first run for office, for general treasurer, back in 2010.)

The third and fourth spots on the best-funded list are two potential 2022 Democratic candidates for governor: General Treasurer Seth Magaziner with $581,000, and Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza with $498,000. In fifth place is former Attorney General Patrick Lynch, who has been out of politics since 2010 but still has $274,000 in his campaign account.

Three legislative leaders come next: Senate President Dominick Ruggerio with $237,000, Senate Majority Leader Michael McCaffrey with $230,000, and Speaker Mattiello with $173,000. Mattiello, D-Cranston, raised even more money than Shekarchi during the first quarter — $193,000 — but is still replenishing his account after spending $720,000 during the 2017-18 election cycle.

Rhode Island’s other three general officers — all Democrats, and all potential 2022 gubernatorial candidates — have significantly less campaign cash than Raimondo and Magaziner. Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea led the group with $122,000.

Lt. Gov. Dan McKee had just $19,000 on hand as of March 31; he recently hired a national fundraising consulting firm, Democracy Partners, in preparation for a potential bid for governor. Attorney General Peter Neronha came last, with only $15,000.

Among the four members of Rhode Island’s all-Democratic congressional delegation, U.S. Sen. Jack Reed has the most cash.

Reed, who is up for re-election next year, reported $1.8 million in his Federal Election Commission account as of March 31. Congressman Jim Langevin had nearly $1.1 million, Congressman David Cicilline had $821,000, and U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse had $687,000.

Here’s the full list of state-level politicians with at least $100,000 in their campaign accounts, according to the Board of Elections:

  1. House Majority Leader Joe Shekarchi ($906,000)
  2. Gov. Gina Raimondo ($639,000)
  3. General Treasurer Seth Magaziner ($581,000)
  4. Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza ($498,000)
  5. Former Attorney General Patrick Lynch ($274,000)
  6. Senate President Dominick Ruggerio ($237,000)
  7. Senate Majority Leader Mike McCaffrey ($230,000)
  8. House Speaker Nick Mattiello ($173,000)
  9. Warwick Mayor Joe Solomon ($167,000)
  10. Johnston Mayor Joe Polisena ($159,000)
  11. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Craven ($135,000)
  12. Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea ($122,000)
  13. Deputy Speaker Charlene Lima ($121,000)
  14. State Rep. Joe Solomon Jr. ($109,000)
  15. State Rep. Stephen Ucci ($101,000)

Ted Nesi (tnesi@wpri.com) covers politics and the economy for WPRI.com. 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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