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It ain’t easy to run for Congress. Here’s some advice

The dome of the Rhode Island State House in Providence.
The dome of the Rhode Island State House in Providence.Lane Turner/Globe Staff

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Happy Friday and welcome to Rhode Map, your daily guide to everything happening in the Ocean State. I’m Dan McGowan and I don’t think I can wait a week to see “Saturday Night Live’s” portrayal of Michael Bloomberg. Follow me on Twitter @DanMcGowan or send tips to Dan.McGowan@globe.com.

Former GOP state representative Robert Lancia launched his bid this month to unseat veteran Congressman James Langevin, a Democrat, but he knows he faces an uphill battle – especially in a presidential election year.


So what should Lancia be thinking about as he begins to piece together his campaign? Rhode Map asked five recent Republican congressional candidates for their advice.


Lost to David Cicilline in 2010

“First of all, enjoy the ride. Running for Congress is one of the most fun things you’ll do in your political life. I had the opportunity to meet Rhode Islanders of every stripe at public forums, at church socials, and even in their living rooms. Our state, despite its problems and challenges, is populated by the best people in America. I found each and every one of them to be great engaged citizens, and meeting and interacting with my fellow Rhode Islanders on a daily basis is probably what I miss most about politics.” (Note: Read Loughlin’s full response here.)

BRENDAN DOHERTY (now a Democrat)

Lost to Cicilline in 2012

“I would say work on developing a good message and try to be as inclusive as you can because the nation needs to become more united. Candidates may differ in philosophy, but our differences don’t have to create a vitriolic landscape. Working toward building consensus would be a better path. Polish the message and then raise lots of money. The best never gets out if you can’t pay for advertising.”



Lost to Sheldon Whitehouse in 2018

“They must either be able to have a [Michael] Bloomberg-like ability to self-fund their campaigns, or else be able to raise on their own the millions needed to persuasively communicate their life story and message for the future. They should expect no help from the national Republican Party because it views Rhode Island as a lost cause brimming with elected officials who are unremittingly hostile to its core principles and policies.”


Lost to Whitehouse in 2012

"Rhode Island is deeply corrupt and deeply broken, there is no single person who can not only overcome those two realities and buck decades-long incumbents who print re-election money while in office and have the full force of 95 percent of elected officials (and the press) covering their backs. And we aren’t even talking about the public employees on their team, who can make your life as a citizen miserable. As they say, the spouting whale gets harpooned, that’s what it’s like to be a Republican in RI. To run you ask, it’s a suicide mission.”


Lost to Langevin in 2012

“My philosophy is to be true to yourself and have a vision. My experience is that it matters little how much money a Republican spends in Rhode Island. I spent approximately $1 million in 2012 for Congress and a few hundred dollars for state treasurer in 2018. Both times I got 35 percent of the vote. John Loughlin in 2010 ran the best race I have seen by a Republican for Congress and Robert Lancia would do well to consult with him.”



Rhode Map wants to hear from you. If you've got a scoop or a link to an interesting news story in Rhode Island, e-mail us at RInews@globe.com.

  • Speaking of Rhode Island’s congressional delegation, the Globe has been asking each of them to answer one policy question a week for a few months. Here’s a roundup of where they stand on the key issues.
  • Following her big debate performance on Wednesday night, US Senator Elizabeth Warren now says she has no choice but to accept the support of Super PACs. The Globe’s Jess Bidgood covers Warren’s change of heart.
  • Mark your calendars: The Globe’s editorial board will endorse a candidate for president next week.
  • If you’re looking for fun things to do this weekend, the Globe’s guide to winter games includes several Rhode Island options.
  • Worth watching: WPRI’s Caroline Goggin suffered a stroke last year. Now she’s telling her story.
  • Question of the Week: It’s almost time for the high school hockey state tournament. Who is the best hockey player in Rhode Island history? E-mail dan.mcgowan@globe.com and I’ll share the winner on Monday.


Each day, Rhode Map offers a cheat sheet breaking down what's happening in Rhode Island. Have an idea? E-mail us at RInews@globe.com.

  • Governor Gina Raimondo traveled to New York last night to meet with the Bloomberg campaign and she is expected back in Rhode Island later today.
  • Tonight at Rhode Island College: Yusef Salaam, a member of the Central Park Five, will give a lecture at 6 p.m. at Roberts Hall.
  • Tonight at District Hall in Providence: Come learn how to make cities great for all residents from Gil Penalosa, the former commissioner of parks, sports, and recreation in Bogota, Colombia.
  • I'll be a guest on "Lively Experiment" this weekend on PBS with Jim Hummel, Eva-Marie Mancuso, and Don Roach. It will air tonight at 7 p.m. and Sunday at noon.
  • Global pop superstar Angélique Kidjo is performing at The Vets on Saturday night.
  • Enjoying Rhode Map? Do us a favor and encourage your friends to sign up here.

Thanks for reading. Send comments and suggestions to dan.mcgowan@globe.com, or follow me on Twitter @DanMcGowan. See you on Monday.

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Dan McGowan can be reached at dan.mcgowan@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at @danmcgowan.