State Treasurer Seth Magaziner still faces a crowded Democratic primary for Rhode Island’s 2nd Congressional District, but a new Super PAC that is supporting him is already gearing up to “define” (they mean “attack”) Republican frontrunner Allan Fung.
Bright Future RI incorporated as a nonprofit in Rhode Island on Aug. 2, and registered as a Super PAC with the Federal Election Commission a day later, filings show.
Paul Tencher, a well-respected political operative who is behind the Super PAC, confirmed that the organization is backing Magaziner, but said its goal is to target Fung, the former Cranston mayor who is garnering national attention with his campaign.
”Bright Future RI will focus its resources on defining Fung and his extreme positions like opposing the Affordable Care Act, opposing the law to make Roe the law in Rhode Island, and now opposing efforts in the Inflation Reduction Act to reduce the costs of prescription drugs for our seniors,” Tencher said in a statement.
Super PACs are allowed to raise and spend unlimited amounts of money – unlike with traditional candidates and political action committees, there are no donation caps – but they cannot coordinate directly with candidates.
Rhode Island is one of the few states in the country that hasn’t been inundated with ads from Super PACs (we have seen a handful of independent expenditures in statewide races) over the past decade, in part because Democrats are usually heavy favorites over Republicans in congressional races here.
That means leaders in both parties have very little experience with putting together these kinds of outside operations.
But a Globe/Suffolk University poll in June showed Fung with a lead over each Democratic candidate in the general election, and Fung’s early success on the campaign trail led House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, the likely next speaker of the House if Republicans win the majority in November, to visit Rhode Island last weekend.
Fung is betting that his popularity running Cranston coupled with the nationwide dissatisfaction with the Democrats, who control the presidency and both chambers of Congress, will send him to Washington, D.C.
While Fung hasn’t been shy about saying that he would vote for McCarthy for speaker and that he voted for Donald Trump for president twice, he becomes agitated when he’s forced to answer questions about the Republican Party nationally – particularly when it comes to Trump running for president again.
Magaziner has mostly focused his campaign on running against Fung even though he is running in a sleepy Democratic primary against Omar Bah, Spencer Dickinson, Joy Fox, Sarah Morgenthau, and David Segal.
This story first appeared in Rhode Map, our free newsletter about Rhode Island that also contains information about local events, data about the coronavirus in the state, and more. If you’d like to receive it via e-mail Monday through Friday, you can sign up here.