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RI POLITICS

Governor McKee names five finalists for lieutenant governor

Several favorites, including the Providence City Council president and the Democratic National Committeewoman, are still in the running.

Governor Daniel J. McKee delivers his inaugural address.
Governor Daniel J. McKee delivers his inaugural address.Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff

PROVIDENCE — Governor Daniel J. McKee on Wednesday narrowed the pool of lieutenant governor applicants down to five finalists:

  • State Senator Louis P. DiPalma, a Middletown Democrat who is chairman of the Senate Rules, Government Ethics and Oversight Committee
  • James A. Diossa, a Democratic former mayor of Central Falls
  • Elizabeth Beretta-Perik, the Democratic National Committeewoman from Rhode Island
  • Providence City Council President Sabina Matos, a Democrat
  • State Representative Grace Diaz, a Providence Democrat who is chairwoman of the House Democratic Caucus

Last week, McKee had whittled a list of 81 applicants down to 10, so Wednesday’s announcements eliminates:

  • Maria Bucci, a former Democratic Cranston City Council member who ran unsuccessfully for mayor in 2020
  • Joanne Giannini, a Democratic former state representative from Providence
  • John J. “Jack” Partridge, a Republican-turned-independent who is senior counsel at the Partridge, Snow & Hahn law firm in ProvidenceJoanne Giannini, a Democratic former state representative from Providence
  • State Representative Robert D. Phillips, a Woonsocket Democrat
  • State Representative Anastasia P. Williams, a Providence Democrat who is chairwoman of the House Labor Committee

McKee plans to interview the five finalists before choosing one to be his successor as lieutenant governor, spokeswoman Andrea Palagi said. He plans to make the final choice by April 11 at the latest, she said.

McKee, a Democrat, was elevated to governor after Gina M. Raimondo was confirmed as President Joe Biden’s Secretary of Commerce. The state is not holding a special election for lieutenant governor. Rather, McKee invited people to apply via his transition website, and he will pick his successor.

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Insiders expect the choice to come down to Matos, Diossa, DiPalma, and Beretta-Perik. But in an interview on March 17, McKee said he had not made up his mind.

“It’s a process that is taking a little bit longer than I would have anticipated when we first started,” he said at the time. “But we have many, many people that showed an interest in helping the state.”

McKee said some of those who applied might be good candidates for joining his administration or on state boards and commissions. In choosing a lieutenant governor, he said he is looking for someone “who really understands that office and will use that office as it was intended.”


Edward Fitzpatrick can be reached at edward.fitzpatrick@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @FitzProv.