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Happy Thursday and welcome to Rhode Map, your daily guide to everything happening in the Ocean State. I’m Dan McGowan and if I’m appointed lieutenant governor, I’m moving the office to Gregg’s. Follow me on Twitter @DanMcGowan or send tips to Dan.McGowan@globe.com.
ICYMI: Rhode Island was up to 102,485 confirmed coronavirus cases on Wednesday, after adding 823 new cases. The overall daily test-positive rate was 5 percent, and the first-time positive rate was 20.7 percent. The state announced 17 more deaths, bringing the total to 1,987. There were 402 people in the hospital, and 38,197 residents had received the first dose of the vaccine.
Some of us are old enough to remember when a candidate got 39 percent of the vote by promising to get rid of the lieutenant governor’s office altogether.
But now that there’s about to be a vacancy when Dan McKee is sworn in as governor, the line of candidates who suddenly have interest in the job is longer than the line at Twin Oaks on a Saturday night (in normal times).
So where do things stand? Here’s a quick overview to catch you up.
McKee told reporters on Wednesday that he believes he gets to make the appointment, but he’s still seeking clarification from the General Assembly on the process. Meanwhile, The Public’s Radio reports that McKee will create an advisory committee to help him make the pick.
The state lawmakers who aren’t angling to fill the seat themselves all seem to have an idea for how the selection should be made, so now there’s a proposed bill to have a grand committee of the General Assembly decide.
Another proposal would give the House and Senate advice and consent powers, similar to the state Supreme Court appointee process. And Representative Charlene Lima is calling for a special election to be held.
As for who wants the job, former Central Falls Mayor James Diossa appeared to be leader out of the gate, and his backers continue to urge McKee to pick him. (McKee and Diossa have been friendly for many years.) State Senator Lou DiPalma, who sat on McKee’s transition team when he became lieutenant governor, has also asked to be appointed.
Other candidates who have publicly expressed interested are former state Senator Donna Nesselbush, Lisa Ranglin from the Rhode Island Black Business Association, state Representative Grace Diaz, Woonsocket Mayor Lisa Baldelli-Hunt, and Deputy Secretary of State Melissa Husband.
Providence City Council President Sabina Matos’ name has been quietly floating around for the last week, but she has not publicly asked for an appointment. (There are a whole bunch of 2022 Providence mayoral hopefuls who would be glad to see her focus her attention elsewhere.)
McKee has a lot to think about with this decision.
By looping the House and Senate in, he can broker an alliance with his new partners in government. He also has to think about who might best help him when he runs for governor himself in two years. Oh, and he might want to consider someone who is ready to serve as governor in the event he’s appointed ambassador to Malta.
You can also expect McKee to push for the governor and lieutenant governor to run together in future elections. That’s a position he has held for many years, and his relationship (or lack of) with Governor Gina Raimondo has only strengthened his belief that a formal partnership between those offices is needed.
THE GLOBE IN RHODE ISLAND
⚓ Amanda Milkovits talked to some of the Rhode Islanders who rallied for President Donald Trump in Washington, D.C. last week. Read more.
⚓ President Trump on Wednesday became the first president in American history to be impeached twice, and US Representative David Cicilline played a big role. Read more.
⚓ Two days after the Globe reported that a consultant was being paid $76,000-a-week to review Rhode Island College, the state canceled the contract. Read more.
⚓ Lieutenant Governor McKee says he expects to be sworn in as governor by mid-February. Read more.
MORE ON BOSTONGLOBE.COM
⚓ Politics: An Amherst College professor (and Brown University graduate) predicted, in a book published last spring, exactly how President Trump would attempt to overturn the 2020 election. Now he’s thinking about 2024. Read more.
⚓ Editorial: The Globe’s editorial board calls on Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell to agree to a speedy trial to remove Trump from the presidency and bar him from holding office in the future. Read more.
⚓ Health: Some members of Congress are testing positive for COVID-19 even though they have been given the vaccine. Here’s why that might be happening. Read more.
⚓ Sports: The Globe’s Tara Sullivan wonders why Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels isn’t getting more calls for head coaching gigs. Read more.
WHAT’S ON TAP TODAY
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.
⚓ BIRTHDAYS: Rhode Map readers, if you want a friend or family member to be recognized on Friday, send me an e-mail with their first and last name, and their age.
⚓ The state Senate Committee on Health and Human Services meets at 4 p.m. to discuss legislation that would require telemedicine coverage under Medicaid.
⚓ The United Way of Rhode Island is hosting a virtual celebration at 5:30 p.m. to unveil its strategic plan for the next five years.
⚓ If you haven’t joined our cocktail club yet, what are you waiting for? Tonight, there’s a lesson on how to make tasty drinks with apple brandy.
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