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RI POLITICS

Langevin backs Magaziner as his replacement in R.I.’s 2nd District

“There is simply no doubt that Seth is the strongest candidate to keep the seat in Democratic control,” Congressman Langevin said Thursday

US Representative James Langevin endorses state Treasurer Seth Magaziner for Rhode Island's 2nd Congressional District.Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE — Outgoing US Representative James Langevin is putting his thumb on the scale in the race to replace him in Rhode Island’s 2nd Congressional District.

Langevin publicly backed state Treasurer Seth Magaziner in the Democratic primary on Thursday, calling on the crowded field to “unite behind the strongest candidate in the race.”

“Just as Rhode Islanders have trusted me these last 22 years, I’m asking you to trust me now that Seth Magaziner is the best candidate to continue what we started together,” Langevin said. “There is simply no doubt that Seth is the strongest candidate to keep the seat in Democratic control and fight back against dangerous and divisive leaders like Kevin McCarthy and Donald Trump, who are undermining democracy and threatening working Rhode Islanders.”

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Langevin’s endorsement comes in the same week that a Boston Globe/Suffolk University poll showed Republican frontrunner Allan Fung leads each of his potential Democratic opponents, including Magaziner (45 percent to 39 percent), who already has the endorsement of the state Democratic Party.

Magaziner said he’s been warning Democrats ever since Langevin announced his plans to retire in January that Republicans would target the 2nd District, and Fung would be difficult to defeat in the general election.

Both Magaziner and Langevin said they consider Fung a “nice guy,” but Magaziner said “the bar should be higher.” He said he hopes to have 20 debates with the former Cranston mayor.

“With Washington Republicans poised to overturn the Affordable Care Act, cut Social Security, and end a woman’s right to choose, there is so much at stake in this election and we must keep the 2nd District in Democratic control,” Magaziner said.

The endorsement is a significant blow for the rest of the primary field, which includes Omar Bah, Spencer Dickinson, Joy Fox, Donald Keith, Sarah Morgenthau, Cameron Moquin, and David Segal. The deadline to declare candidacy was Wednesday evening, and the candidates have until July 15 to gather 500 signatures from voters in the 2nd District to qualify to have their names on the ballot in the Sept. 13 primary.

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Fox, who worked for Langevin earlier in her career, said she appreciates the congressman’s service to Rhode Island, “but obviously I find his decision disappointing.”

“Changing Washington demands changing the people we send there,” Fox said. “It’s time for Rhode Island to elect its first Democratic woman to Congress, a congresswoman with real Rhode Island roots who will fight every day for the people of this district.”

Magaziner has racked up key endorsements in the race and outraised the entire field, but he has faced criticism about not living in the 2nd District (as long as he lives in the state, he is eligible to run). He said Thursday he is planning to move into the district. He also pointed out that he won the 2nd District in each of his campaigns for treasurer.


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