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A running list of possible candidates for Cicilline’s congressional seat

Representative David Cicilline, a Democrat from Rhode Island, speaks during a bill enrollment ceremony for H.R. 8408, the Respect for Marriage Act, at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, US, on Thursday, Dec. 8, 2022.Al Drago/Bloomberg

PROVIDENCE — US Representative David N. Cicilline’s surprise announcement that he is leaving office to become president and CEO of the Rhode Island Foundation effective June 1 has opened the floodgates for politicians to mull their options, meet with advisers, talk with their families, pray, or immediately rule out jumping in the race for the First Congressional District.

A special election cannot be scheduled until Cicilline officially resigns from Congress, but the primary will take place Sept. 5 and the general election to fill Cicilline’s seat is scheduled for Nov. 7.

Here’s a look at who’s running, who is considering entering the race, and who has already said they will not be a candidate. (The list is in alphabetical order.)

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Running for CD1

Marvin L. Abney

House Finance chair (Newport)

Abney has served in the General Assembly since 2013. He is the first candidate from the Aquidneck Island section of the district to enter the race. Read more

Gabe Amo

Former top aide to President Biden

The Pawtucket native has also worked for former president Barack Obama, former governor Gina Raimondo, and US Senator Sheldon Whitehouse. Read more

Nicholas A. Autiello II

Former state Senate candidate

He finished a distant third in a Democratic primary when he ran for state Senate in 2018, but he has the political connections and fund-raising network to compete in a large field. Read more

Mickeda Sebastiana Barnes

Former RIPTA bus driver

The East Providence Democrat drove a Rhode Island Public Transit Authority bus for 14 years, and she says homeless bus riders gave her ideas for addressing homelessness. She also wants to address gun violence in schools. She lost a 2004 state Senate Democratic primary.

Stephanie Beauté

Self described “voting rights advocate and woman in tech”

The North Smithfield Democrat who ran for secretary of state last year is a graduate of Hope High School and URI who works as a senior product manager at Hi Marley Inc., a tech start-up in Boston, and previously as a technical product manager for GE Digital. Read more

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Walter Berbrick

Naval War College professor (Middletown)

He served as an associate professor and director at the Naval War College in Newport for nearly 14 years, and served as an intelligence officer, mostly focused on countering violent extremism. He received a doctorate from Northeastern University.

Sandra Cano

State senator (Pawtucket)

Cano has quietly but swiftly moved up the ranks in the Senate since she won her seat in a special election in 2018 (she now chairs the Education Committee), but like most of the other candidates in the race so far, she isn’t widely known throughout the district. Read more

Don Carlson

Renewable energy investor (Jamestown)

Carlson launched his campaign at the Rejects Beer Company in Middletown, which he co-owns. He pledged to focus on gun safety, green energy, and education if is elected to Congress.

Stephen Casey

State representative (Woonsocket)

He has mostly kept a low profile in his six terms in the House, although he is chairman of the Municipal Government and Housing Committee. It has been a long time since he had a real opponent in any of his elections, but he could have the ability the corner the market on a lot of votes in part of the First District.

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John Goncalves

Councilman (Providence)

It may sound like a huge leap for a councilman to run for Congress, but consider this: Goncalves has been the most prolific fund-raiser on the council since he burst on the scene in 2020, bringing in more than $190,000. Read more

Paul LeBon

Author of “Liar Liar Cruz on Fire”

He has run for Congress in Texas, written a book titled “Liar Liar Cruz on Fire,” and served as a Catholic missionary to Cuba 22 times. Now LeBon, a Woonsocket resident, is planning to for the First Congressional District. Read more.

Sabina Matos

Lieutenant governor

Matos is the only person in the race right now with any district-wide name recognition at all, which makes her the early favorite. Read more

Ana Quezada

State senator (Providence)

Quezada, whose full-time job is working in Providence’s Department of Inspections and Standards, turned heads in 2016 when she upset a longtime incumbent to win a seat representing Senate District 2 in Providence, which includes most of the city’s South Side. She is known as a strong organizer in her community, and has a knack for securing mail ballot votes. Read more

J. Aaron Regunberg

Former state representative

The 33-year-old Democrat became the face of progressive politics in Rhode Island during his two terms in the House between 2015 and 2019, but a narrow loss to Dan McKee in the 2018 primary for lieutenant governor halted his ascent up the political ladder. Read more

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Michael Tillinghast

General laborer

The Providence resident is little known in political circles. He attended Community College of Rhode Island and has worked as a welder and machinist but now primarily serves as a caregiver for his mother.

Allen Waters

Frequent candidate

He lost to Cicilline by 28 percentage points as the Republican nominee for this seat last year, but is switching gears to run as a Democrat.

Never say never

  • Dino Autiello, North Providence council president (D)
  • Barbara Ann Fenton-Fung, state representative (R-Cranston)
  • Joe Paolino III, son of former Providence mayor (D)

Not running

  • Lorne Adrain, former Providence mayoral candidate (D)
  • Nathan Biah, state representative (D-Providence)
  • Gregg M. Amore, secretary of state (D)
  • Christopher R. Blazejewski, state representative (D-Providence)
  • Bob DaSilva, East Providence mayor (D)
  • James A. Diossa, state general treasurer (D)
  • Louis P. DiPalma, state senator (D-Middletown)
  • Brendan Doherty, former state police superintendent (D)
  • Dawn Euer, state senator (D-Newport)
  • Helena Buonanno Foulkes, former CVS executive (D)
  • Gayle L. Goldin, US Labor Department (D)
  • Donald R. Grebien, Pawtucket mayor (D)
  • Aaron Guckian, former lieutenant governor candidate (R)
  • Jorge O. Elorza, former Providence mayor (D)
  • Meghan E. Kallman, state senator (D-Pawtucket)
  • Nirva LaFortune, former Providence councilwoman (D)
  • Bill Lynch, former Democratic Party chair (D)
  • Patrick C. Lynch, former attorney general (D)
  • Daniel J. McKee, governor (D)
  • Cynthia Mendes, former state senator (D)
  • Peter F. Neronha, attorney general (D)
  • Joe Paolino, former Providence mayor (D)
  • Ryan W. Pearson, state senator (D-Cumberland)
  • Clay Pell, former gubernatorial candidate (D)
  • Stefan Pryor, Rhode Island housing secretary (D)
  • Gina M. Raimondo, US commerce secretary (D)
  • Maria Rivera, Central Falls mayor (D)
  • Deb Ruggiero, former state representative (D)
  • K. Joseph Shekarchi, House speaker (D-Warwick)
  • Brett Smiley, Providence mayor (D)
  • Angel Taveras, former Providence mayor (D)
  • Arlene Violet, former attorney general
  • Xay Khamsyvoravong, Newport mayor (D)

This article will be updated as others announce their candidacies.


Dan McGowan can be reached at dan.mcgowan@globe.com. Follow him @danmcgowan. Edward Fitzpatrick can be reached at edward.fitzpatrick@globe.com. Follow him @FitzProv.