PROVIDENCE — Lieutenant Governor Sabina Matos plans to enter the race for Congress in Rhode Island’s First District.
The first-term Democrat has started contacting supporters to let them know she intends to run for the seat that will be open once US Representative David Cicilline steps down to become CEO and president of the Rhode Island Foundation beginning June 1.
Evan England, a spokesman for Matos’ campaign, confirmed that an announcement is being planned for Monday. Matos declined to comment.
Matos, who was appointed lieutenant governor by Governor Dan McKee in 2021 and then won a full four-year term last year, would be the first high-profile Democrat to enter the race for Congress. Other Democrats mulling a run for the job include House Speaker Joseph Shekarchi and former gubernatorial candidate Helena Foulkes.
Matos, 49, was elected to the Providence City Council three times before becoming lieutenant governor, representing the Olneyville and Silver Lake neighborhoods. She still lives in Olneyville, which is part of the Second Congressional District. Candidates for Congress are required to live in the state they are seeking to represent, but they do not have to live in the district.
The First District includes the northern half of Rhode Island, including most of Providence, as well as Bristol and Newport counties. Pawtucket and Central Falls, which have large Latino populations, are also in the district.
Cicilline stunned Rhode Island’s political class last month when he announced that he was accepting a job at the state’s largest community foundation, but Matos is the first major candidate to enter the race. Allen Waters, a perennial candidate who lost to Cicilline last year as a Republican, has said he plans to run as a Democrat.
Matos had not opened a federal campaign account as of Thursday afternoon, but she is expected to begin raising money for the race in the coming days.
Rhode Island has never elected a Democratic woman to Congress. Republican Claudine Schneider represented the Second Congressional District from 1981 until 1991.