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RI POLITICS

Republican Paul Pence Jr. is running for R.I. lieutenant governor again

Pence received 29 percent of the vote in the 2018 lieutenant governor’s race won by now-Governor Daniel J. McKee

Paul E. Pence Jr., a Republican candidate for lieutenant governor of Rhode Island.Handout

PROVIDENCE — Paul E. Pence Jr., the Republican who lost the 2018 lieutenant governor’s race to now-Governor Daniel J. McKee, on Friday announced he will run for lieutenant governor again in 2022.

In his announcement, Pence noted that he is not related to former Republican Vice President Mike Pence. And he said he agrees with the late Robert J. Healey Jr., the Cool Moose Party founder who repeatedly ran for lieutenant governor while calling the position a waste of taxpayer money and urging its abolition.

“If all we do with the role of lieutenant governor is use it to park a faithful party member before retirement, we are wasting the taxpayers’ hard-earned money,” Pence said in a written announcement. “Let’s not waste that money, let’s elect a problem solver with the mission to make the state government more responsive to the people of Rhode Island.”

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Pence, 63, who lives in Warwick, received 29 percent of the vote in the 2018 lieutenant governor’s won by McKee, a Democrat who became governor after Gina M. Raimondo became US secretary of commerce in March.

“With the departure of our last governor, we clearly see that the selection of a lieutenant governor has important ramifications,” Pence said. “We need a person in that office who not only can bring value to a role that many would eliminate completely, but we also need someone who has a positive vision for Rhode Island.”

Pence raised no campaign funds during the third quarter of 2021, and has $125 in his campaign account, according to the state Board of Elections.

If he secures the Republican nomination, he would be expected to face Lieutenant Governor Sabina Matos, a Democratic former Providence City Council president who has $263,825 in her campaign account, or state Senator Cynthia Mendes, an East Providence Democrat who has $72,732 in her campaign account.

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Pence works as the quality management systems and food safety coordinator for Toray Plastics, in North Kingstown, and he has published Rhode Island Roads Magazine since 2002.

On his website, Pence outlines his stance on seven issues. For example, he said, “Critical Race Theory is racism, hatred, envy, and societal suicide disguised as fairness and understanding.” And he said, “Rhode Island politicians pass more and more abusive gun control laws despite clear statements in both the US and RI constitutions that the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”


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