This article originally appeared in the Rhode Map newsletter. If you would like to get the newsletter as a convenient e-mail Monday through Friday, just sign up here.
Rhode Island has a high level of transmission: 174.6 total new cases per 100K population in the past 7 days
Fully vaccinated: 724,995 (of about 1.1 million residents)
New cases: 214
Test-positive rate: 3.1 percent
Currently hospitalized: 94
Total deaths: 2,856
More stats from the R.I. Department of Health
Globe Rhode Island COVID-19 news and resources
Subscribe to our Coronavirus Next newsletter
It sure sounds like former CVS executive Helena Foulkes is going to run as a Democrat for governor next year, adding another heavyweight to a crowded field that includes incumbent Governor Dan McKee, Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea, Treasurer Seth Magaziner, and former secretary of state Matt Brown.
Foulkes has been dodging questions about her potential candidacy for several months, but Channel 12 (WPRI), citing anonymous sources, reported on Tuesday that she will jump into the race.
So what should we expect from a Foulkes campaign? Here are a few takeaways.
Gina Raimondo 2.0
For better or for worse, Foulkes is going to be framed as the second coming of former governor Gina Raimondo. They both have ties to Harvard -- Foulkes is currently the president of Harvard’s Board of Overseers -- have deep experience in the private sector, and they even appear to share some political advisors. As a former executive at CVS and CEO of the Hudson’s Bay Company, Foulkes probably has a stronger business background than Raimondo had when she ran for state treasurer in 2010. But Raimondo’s term as treasurer gave her more practical political experience for her run for governor than Foulkes will have.
An executive who cares about public health
Let’s assume for a minute that Dr. Ashish Jha and Dr. Megan Ranney aren’t going to form a super team and run on a ticket for governor and lieutenant governor (they’d be really tough to beat, though). Foulkes is one of the few Rhode Islanders who can say she has made a true difference in health (she led the effort to ban tobacco sales at CVS) and has the business experience to lead the state though an economic turnaround. That’s a difficult message to run against.
She’s untested politically
Other than being a max-out yearly $1,000 donor to Raimondo (and current Providence mayoral candidate Brett Smiley), Foulkes doesn’t have a lot of hands-on experience in politics. She’s been rumored to be running for governor for six months now, but she hasn’t responded to just about any inquiries from reporters. She’ll have to prove that she enjoys the retail side of politics (not to mention governing), and she’ll be learning on the fly.
Money (and name recognition) won’t be a problem
There are plenty of Rhode Map readers who wouldn’t know Foulkes if she showed up at their door wearing a Patriots jersey with her name and the number 77 (if elected, she’d be the 77th governor of Rhode Island). But she’s a multimillionaire who has the ability to self-fund a campaign for governor, and if she doesn’t want to spend her own money, she’s got a national network that could help her catch up to Magaziner, the current fund-raising leader. With those kinds of resources, she’ll have no problem with name recognition.
The other candidates aren’t backing down
There will be lots of talk in the coming weeks about what a Foulkes campaign means for McKee, Magaziner, Gorbea, and Brown (along with lesser-known candidates like Dr. Luis Daniel Muñoz), but none of them have any reason to back away at this point. They all still have realistic paths to victory, and they’ll be crossing their fingers hoping that Foulkes turns out to be a weaker politician than expected. No Republican candidate has announced, but House Minority Leader Blake Filippi and businessman Dave Darlington are considering entering the race.
The Globe in Rhode Island
⚓ Just two days after he took medical leave, toymaker Hasbro announced Tuesday that its chief executive officer, Brian Goldner, has died. He was 58. Read more.
⚓ A Central Falls woman claimed she found a child near I-95. It turns out she was his babysitter. Read more.
⚓ In an opinion piece, Rhode Island Secretary of Health and Human Services Womazetta Jones writes that access to child care is a matter of equity. Read more.
Also in the Globe
⚓ How Chaim Bloom and Alex Cora turned the Red Sox back into contenders. Read more.
⚓ Her son went missing at Massachusetts Avenue and Melnea Cass Boulevard in Boston, and her desperate search to find him began. Read more.
⚓ Does City Councilor Annissa Essaibi George have a path to victory in the Boston mayoral race? Read more.
What’s on tap today
E-mail events to us at RInews@globe.com.
⚓ 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 Senate Oversight Committee meets at 5:30 p.m. to hear from leaders of the Department of Children, Youth, and Families.
⚓ The Providence External Review Authority could vote to hire a new executive director at its 6 p.m. meeting.
⚓ The Council on Postsecondary Education meets at 5:30 p.m. Here’s the agenda.
My previous column
Sam Zurier may have won the Democratic primary in Senate District 3, but the voters on the East Side of Providence were lucky to have five strong candidates in the race. If you missed the column, you can read it here. And all of my columns are on our Rhode Island Commentary page.
Rhode Island Report podcast
Amanda Milkovits talks to Barbara Papitto and Arnell Milhouse about the Papitto Opportunity Connection. Listen to all of our podcasts here.
Boston Globe App
You can get alerts about Rhode Island news on the Globe’s app (iOS and Android). Just tap the gear icon, then “Edit Alert Settings,” and choose Rhode Island.
Please tell your friends about Rhode Map! They can sign up here. The Globe has other e-mail newsletters on topics ranging from breaking news alerts to sports, politics, business, and entertainment — check them out.