fb-pixel Skip to main content

Everything you need to know about the R.I. race for Congress after a wacky weekend

Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott, who is stepping down as the Rhode Island health director, has not ruled out a run for Congress.MARK STOCKWELL FOR THE BOSTON GLOBE

Happy Monday! I’m Dan McGowan and that was the best NFL playoff weekend ever. Follow me on Twitter @DanMcGowan or send tips to Dan.McGowan@globe.com.

Coronavirus updates

Rhode Island has a high level of transmission: 2,195.9 total new cases per 100K population in the past 7 days

Vaccinated with two shots: 825,161 (of about 1.1 million residents)

New cases: 2,334 (on Friday)

Test-positive rate: 12.4 percent

Currently hospitalized: 505

Total deaths: 3,240

More stats from the R.I. Department of Health

Globe Rhode Island COVID-19 news and resources

Subscribe to our Coronavirus Next newsletter

Leading off

If you thought the twists and turns in last night’s Chiefs/Bills game were wild, just wait until you see what is unfolding in the race for Rhode Island’s 2nd Congressional District.


Democratic powerbrokers are scrambling to find a top-tier candidate to succeed retiring US Representative James Langevin as they wrestle with the concern that Republicans have their best chance to win one of Rhode Island’s two House seats in a decade.

The Republicans are also on a collision course for a fascinating primary that could determine the future of their party in the state for the next several years.

A lot has changed in a few days, so here’s a new look at what we know, what we don’t know, and what to watch.


On the Democratic side, former state representative Ed Pacheco will launch his campaign later today. Omar Bah, founder of the Refugee Dream Center, confirmed over the weekend that he plans to run for the seat. The Republicans have a fresh face now that state Senator Jessica de la Cruz said she secured enough fund-raising commitments to enter the race. Former state representative Robert Lancia already was running for the seat before Langevin announced his retirement.


House Speaker Joseph Shekarchi is seeking reelection to the state Legislature. Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea and former CVS executive Helena Foulkes both have confirmed that they’re staying in the Democratic primary for governor. Brendan Doherty, former superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police, opted against running.



Outgoing Health Department Director Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott is the talk of the town right now, as she thinks about running for Congress as a Democrat.


State Treasurer Seth Magaziner’s campaign sent a bizarre text message to reporters on Sunday explaining that he remains a Democratic candidate for governor “at this time,” but that he is considering entering the race for Congress. Allan Fung, the Republican former mayor of Cranston, could be the overall favorite in the race, but he’s trying to decide between running for Congress and state treasurer.


Every Democrat ever. State Senators Josh Miller and Sam Bell confirmed they are still considering a campaign. State Representatives Carol Hagan McEntee, Bob Craven, and Joseph Solomon Jr. are talking to friends about a run. Joy Fox, who worked for Langevin and was a top aide to former governor Gina Raimondo, is taking a serious look at the race. Former state representative Stephen Ucci has supporters pushing him to run, and former state senator James Sheehan says he might join the field. Big Bird, Elmo, and Buddy Cianci are all certain to get a few write-in votes.

The Globe in Rhode Island

⚓ “I don’t buy for a second the coaches didn’t know.” Former students at North Kingstown High School wonder why no one stopped basketball coach Aaron Thomas and his “fat tests.” Read more.


⚓ State Senate leaders on Friday came out strongly in favor of providing public health insurance coverage for undocumented children. Read more.

⚓ A former Rhode Island man who fled the country and faked his own death to avoid criminal charges in Utah is being held in custody in Scotland until he can be returned to the United States. Read more.

⚓ Governor Dan McKee signed an executive order Friday that allowed nursing homes to operate under the state’s minimum staffing requirements without being penalized. Read more.

⚓ This week’s Ocean State Innovators Q&A is with Julie Principe, vice president of the Lifespan Cancer Institute. E-mail Alexa Gagosz with suggestions for this weekly interview. Read more.

Also in the Globe

⚓ Brown University graduate and former Holyoke mayor Alex Morse is now the town manager in Provincetown. And he’s loving it. Read more.

⚓ If you were mistakenly overpaid in unemployment benefits, should you be forced to give the money back? Read more.

⚓ Did we just see Tom Brady’s final game? Read more.

What’s on tap today

E-mail events to us at RInews@globe.com.

⚓ The Senate Oversight Committee will discuss COVID-19 testing at 5:30 p.m.

⚓ The board for the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation meets at 4:30 p.m. Here’s the agenda.

⚓ Providence’s redistricting committee meets at 5:30 p.m. Here’s the agenda.

My previous column

With James Langevin set to retire from Congress, don’t be surprised if you start to hear his name being tied to the presidency of Rhode Island College. 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 the mayor of Central Falls, Maria Rivera, about how her first year in City Hall went. 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 Dan.McGowan@Globe.com, or follow me on Twitter @DanMcGowan. See you tomorrow.

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.

Dan McGowan can be reached at dan.mcgowan@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at @danmcgowan.