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Everyone you know wants to replace Jim Langevin in Congress

The US Capitol in Washington, D.C.DANIEL SLIM/AFP via Getty Images

Happy Wednesday! I’m Dan McGowan and I might be the only person in Rhode Island not running for Congress this election cycle. Follow me on Twitter @DanMcGowan or send tips to

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Leading off

US Representative James Langevin’s surprise retirement has upended state politics, giving every ambitious (or just bored) politician a reason to consider running for Rhode Island’s first open seat in Congress since 2010.

It still hasn’t been 24 hours since Langevin announced that he won’t seek another term, so here’s a way-too-early list of potential candidates for the 2nd congressional district.

The favorite on day one

House Speaker Joseph Shekarchi (D): We won’t know very much about this race until the state’s most powerful politician decides his political future. He’s got the best political instincts in Rhode Island, will have plenty of money, and has a strong base in Warwick. But with the Democrats expected to lose the House this year, he’ll have to decide whether he likes being the biggest fish in a small pond here, or a freshman in the minority party in Washington, D.C.

Already running

Bob Lancia (R): The former state representative who lost to Langevin in 2020 lacked the money, name recognition, and organization to compete with the congressman. Now he’s likely to be pushed aside by stronger Republican candidates in a primary.

Never say never

Lieutenant Governor Sabina Matos (D): In a radio interview Tuesday on WPRO-AM, Langevin mentioned Shekarchi, Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea, and Matos as potential candidates for the job. Matos probably has an easier path to a full term as lieutenant governor.


House Minority Leader Blake Filippi (R): He decided against running for governor, but Langevin’s retirement shakes things up. The 2nd district is winnable for a Republican, and Filippi has the energy and personal wealth to run a credible race.

Allan Fung (R): The former Cranston mayor is mulling a bid for state treasurer, but he’d bring a strong base and would give the Republicans a real chance to win in November.

State Representative Barbara Ann Fenton-Fung (R): The Fungs aren’t going to run against each other, but they’re both going take a strong look at the race.

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza (D): This would be a difficult race for the mayor, but he’s a good fund-raiser, has plenty of name recognition, and most importantly, doesn’t have a job lined up when his term ends.

Taking a look (confirmed)

Robert Walsh (D): The executive director of National Education Association Rhode Island lost a close race for Congress in 1992, and has flirted with running for several offices over the last several decades.

Scott Avedisian (R): The former mayor of Warwick has watched his party move far to the right without him, but anyone with a strong base like his could be contender in this race.

State Senator Josh Miller (D): The restaurant owner and Cranston lawmaker has strong progressive credentials, is popular in his high-turnout community, and has plenty of friends urging him to run.


State Senator Sam Bell (D): The Providence senator would have the enthusiastic support of many progressive activists, but could struggle to win institutional support within the party.

Brendan Doherty (D): The former state police colonel challenged Congressman David Cicilline in 2012 (when he was a Republican), and he’s showed interest in politics ever since.

Other names to watch

Don’t be surprised if former Rhode Island Democratic Party Chairman Ed Pacheco considers a return to politics. Gabe Amo, who works for the Biden administration and previously worked for former governor Gina Raimondo, has been itching to run for office for years, and this could be an opportunity. Providence City Council President John Igliozzi (D), Democratic mega-fund-raiser Liz Beretta-Perik, and Senate Majority Leader Michael McCaffrey (D) are all potential candidates.

Contenders if they change their minds

The Democratic primary field for governor is still really crowded, so even though Gorbea, state Treasurer Seth Magaziner (who lives in the 1st District, but that doesn’t matter) and Helena Foulkes say they’re staying put, both would instantly be strong contenders for Congress.

Not running (confirmed)

Former Providence mayor Angel Taveras (D), former lieutenant governor Elizabeth Roberts, and Channel 10′s Gene Valicenti.

The Globe in Rhode Island

⚓ My latest column: What will Congressman Langevin do next? His alma mater (Rhode Island College) has a job opening. Read more.

⚓ Governor Dan McKee on Tuesday delivered his first State of the State address, outlining plans for investing $250 million in housing, spending millions on climate-change initiatives, and launching a new “Higher Ed Academy” to get 1,000 people college degrees or training. Read more.


⚓ House Minority Leader Blake Filippi delivered the Republican response to Tuesday’s State of the State address, blasting McKee for issuing “unlawful” COVID-19 executive orders and inking a new Providence teachers contract “with no meaningful reforms.” Read more.

⚓ In his proposed budget, McKee is proposing to make to-go drinks permanent for restaurants and reduce the corporate minimum tax. Read more.

⚓ Rhode Islanders who have dropped out of college during the COVID-19 pandemic or who didn’t immediately enter higher education after graduating from high school could soon be eligible for thousands of dollars in tuition, child care, and other expenses that will help them return to school under a new proposal from McKee. Read more.

⚓ A boutique distillery in Rhode Island is making the country’s first oyster-distilled vodka. Read more.

⚓ A man from Portland, Maine, was killed and a man from Cambridge was wounded in a double shooting early Sunday in Providence’s first homicide of the year. Read more.

Also in the Globe

⚓ All around Massachusetts, cities and towns want to go fossil fuel free. Here’s why they can’t. Read more.

⚓ Governor Charlie Baker announced schools can stop contact-tracing — the time-consuming work of identifying and notifying all close contacts of infected students — to ease the burden on staff, as long as they join a new state initiative that offers weekly rapid tests to willing students and staff. Read more.


Willie O’Ree, the first Black man to play in the NHL, had his number retired by the Bruins last night. Read more.

What’s on tap today

E-mail events to us at

⚓ 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.

⚓ Governor McKee will hold his regular media briefing at 2:30 p.m.

⚓ The I-195 Redevelopment District Commission meets at 5 p.m. Here’s the agenda.

⚓ The Rhode Island Semiquincentennial Commission (RI250 Commission) meets at 3 p.m. to select a URL for its website.

⚓ The special legislative commission studying land use, preservation, development, housing, environment, and regulation (that’s a mouthful), meets at 2 p.m.

My previous column

The Rhode Island con artist who faked his own death is finally getting his wish: He’s newsworthy now. 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

Ed Fitzpatrick talks to state Senator Tiara Mack about her goals for the progressive movement in 2022. 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.

Thanks for reading. Send comments and suggestions to, or follow me on Twitter @DanMcGowan. See you tomorrow.

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Dan McGowan can be reached at Follow him @danmcgowan.