PROVIDENCE — City Council President Sabina Matos will be named Rhode Island’s next lieutenant governor, according to multiple State House sources.
Governor Dan McKee is expected to announce Matos as his pick Wednesday morning at the State House. They’re scheduled to appear together at events in Pawtucket and Johnston later in the day.
Matos, a Democrat who was elected to the City Council in 2010, was planning a run for mayor next year until Governor Gina Raimondo was appointed to join President Joe Biden’s administration. That cleared the way for McKee, the lieutenant governor at the time, to become governor, and name his successor.
Matos did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday evening.
Matos, 47, moved to the US from the Dominican Republic in 1994, but politics runs in her blood. Her father served as mayor of Paraiso in the province of Barahona, and she first ran City Council in 2006, a year after becoming a US citizen. She lost her first run for office, but won elections in 2010, 2014, and 2018 to represent Ward 15, which includes the Olneyville, Silver Lake, and Valley neighborhoods.
She was also the top vote-getter in the state last year as Democratic delegate for then-presidential candidate Joe Biden. Because she was term-limited on the council, she had begun to set her eyes on a campaign for mayor in 2022. But she emerged as a frontrunner to be McKee’s pick for lieutenant governor in January.
More than 80 Rhode Islanders took advantage of McKee’s open request for applications to be lieutenant governor. The office is normally an elected position, but McKee is allowed to fill the vacancy with the advice and consent from the Senate.
Last week, McKee said Matos, state Representative Grace Diaz, state Senator Lou DiPalma, former Central Falls Mayor James Diossa, and top Democratic fund-raiser Liz Beretta-Perik were the five finalists.
Matos, who is now planning to run for lieutenant governor next year, is expected to become a quasi-running mate for McKee, who is also expected to face a crowded Democratic primary for governor that could include Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza, Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea, and state Treasurer Seth Magaziner.
While McKee would not be a favorite to win Providence in a Democratic primary, Matos’ support could help draw votes away the other potential contenders. She and McKee have similar views on education (they both support charter schools) and they are both seen as small business advocates.