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Wed June 25, 2014
Who's Coming & Who's Going at the General Assembly
Here's my ongoing look at legislators who have decided to leave the General Assembly -- and the candidates trying to make their way into the 113-seat legislature. (You can email me tips and news releases at idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org). As it stands, the General Assembly consists of 101 Democrats, 11 Republicans, and 1 independent. (UPDATE: A lot of stuff happening Wednesday, but I'll continue updating this list as time permits today and perhaps tomorrow).
UPDATE II: My completion of the House portion of this list has been delayed by another story I'm pursuing. In the interim, you can get the details on the Secretary of State's Web site.
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
-- Republican Caswell Cooke Jr. has filed to run for the seat held in House District 37 by Samuel Azzinaro (D-Westerly), who has served in the House since first winning election in 2008. Cook has been a mainstay on the town council.
-- Republican Norbert "Norb" Rattay has filed to run for the House District 71 seat held by Dennis Canario (D-Portsmouth). The district was formerly represented by Dan Gordon and John Loughlin, and the GOP didn't field a candidate in the conservative-leaning district in 2012. Canario previously served for a number of years on the Portsmouth Town Council and is a former Portsmouth police officer. According to his LinkedIn profile, Rattay is a contracts manager at Raytheon
-- **PRIMARY** Tom Kane has a Web site indicating a Democratic challenge to Representative Karen MacBeth (D-Cumberland), whose profile has risen since Speaker Mattiello appointed her as chairwoman of the House Oversight Committee. Kane says he works as an appraiser in the Providence tax assessor's office.
-- Republican Ana Santana has filed to run for the House District 9 seat held by Representative Anastasia Williams (D-Providence). Santana is highly regarded within the state GOP, although she is expected to face tough sledding in one of the most Democratic parts of the capital city.
-- Republican Lacey McGreevy, who may bear the distinction of being the only beauty pageant enthusiast gunning for the General Assembly, is running in District 35 for the seat held by Representative Spencer Dickinson (D-South Kingstown).
-- Representative J. Patrick O'Neill (D-Pawtucket) is the leaving the House after five terms. Although O'Neill told reporters as recently as late last week he'd seek re-election, he announced via news release Monday that he'll be leaving the General Assembly. O'Neill, who operates a Providence law firm with former rep Russell Jackson, stormed into the Statehouse in 2004 by upsetting former speaker John Harwood in a Democratic primary.
O'Neill rose to become a whip as part of former speaker Gordon Fox's leadership team, but resigned in 2012. O'Neill says he's not seeking re-election to spend more time with his wife, Sheri, and their two daughters and to "focus more attention on his growing small business." Although O'Neill has remained a critic under Speaker Nicholas Mattiello, both O'Neill and House leadership are backing Ward 5 Pawtucket City Councilor Jean Philippe Barros in the House District 59 race. In his statement, O'Neill says, “I have truly enjoyed the opportunity to serve the people of Pawtucket for the last ten years as their voice at the State House. I’m proud of what we were able to accomplish together, and look forward to moving on in pursuit of new ways to serve my community.”
-- After losing a close race in 2012, Democrat Nick Denice is taking another shot against Representative Patricia Morgan (R-West Warwick) in House District 26. Denice is a lawyer, certified fraud examiner and chairman of the West Warwick Pension Board. He's a grad of Bryant and Roger Williams University School of Law. In a statement, Denice says, “I will have a laser beam focus on jobs and the economy. My pledge to the voters is very simple: I will work every day to grow our economy, create jobs, and do whatever it takes to put Rhode Island back on top again.” Morgan is a former chair of the state Republican Party and has been critical of growing state spending. Morgan beat Denice in 2012 by fewer than 250 votes.
-- William San Bento (D-Pawtucket), who came within a whisker of losing his 2012 campaign, has decided not to seek re-election. Carlos Tobon, who challenged San Bento last time, is among those running for the District 58 seat.
-- Elaine Coderre, the longest serving member of the House (she was first elected in 1984) is not seeking re-election to her District 60 seat in Pawtucket. She's the mother of Tom Coderre, chief of staff to Senate President Teresa Pavia Weed, and serves as chair of the House Democratic Caucus. Lawyer and Pawtucket School Committee member David A. Coughlin, a Democrat, is running for the seat being vacated by Coderre. In announcing his run, Coughlin says via statement that he wants to be part of addressing the challenges faced by Pawtucket and the state. He has served on the executive board of the Rhode Island Association of School Committees and coached youth sports.
-- **PRIMARY** Former House speaker Gordon Fox, whose East Side home and Statehouse office, were raided by state and federal law enforcement on March 21, as part of a yet-to-be-explained investigation, isn't running for the House seat he's held since first winning election in 1992. Education activist Aaron Regunberg, education reformer Heather Tow-Yick, and business lawyer Miriam Ross, all Democrats, say they're running for the House District 4 seat.
-- Frank Ferri (D-Warwick) is leaving the House to compete in a three-way Democratic primary for lieutenant governor with secretary of state Ralph Mollis and Cumberland Mayor Daniel McKee. Joseph J. Solomon Jr., a lawyer in the House policy office and son of a Warwick councilor of the same name, is running for the seat being vacated by Ferri. Republican Ralph Leone is also in the hunt.
-- **PRIMARY** Representative Joseph Almeida (D-Providence) is being challenged in a Democratic primary by Anthony Roberson, a Providence police detective.
-- Republican Robert A. "Bobby" Nardolillo III announced his challenge in January for the District 28 House seat held by Representative Scott Guthrie (D-Coventry).
Seventeen -- almost half of the 38 senators -- are running without an opponent: Maryellen Goodwin (D-Providence); Majority Leader Dominick Ruggerio (D-Providence); Paul Jabour (D-Providence); James Doyle (D-Pawtucket); Walter Felag (D-Warren); Louis DiPalma (D-Middletown); Finance Chairman Daniel DaPonte (D-East Providence); William Conley (D-East Providence); Ryan Pearson (D-Cumberland); Roger Picard; Frank Lombardo III (D-Johnston); Frank S. Lombardi (D-Cranston); Joshua Miller (D-Cranston); Judiciary Chairman Michael McCaffrey (D-Warwick); James Sheehan (D-North Kingstown); Susan Sosnowski (D-South Kingstown); Senate Minority Leader Dennis Algiere (D-Westerly).
-- **PRIMARY** Democrats Ramon A. Perez and Ana B. Quezada have filed for the District 2 Senate seat held by Senator Juan Pichardo (D-Providence).
-- **PRIMARY** Russell Hryzan, running as an independent, is taking another shot at District 6 Senator Harold Metts (D-Providence). Democrat Mario Mancebo and independent Kendre E. Rodriguez have also filed.
-- **PRIMARY** Democrat Thomas K. Jones has filed for the seat held by District 9 Senator Adam Satchell (D-West Warwick). Also in the hunt is former senator Michael Pinga, who once ousted former Senate Finance chairman Stephen Alves, filing as an independent. Democrat Debra G. Tocco has also filed.
-- **PRIMARY** Doris De Los Santos, a longtime Latino political activist, has filed for the Senate District 7 seat held by Senator Frank Ciccone (D-Providence).
-- Republican Michael W. Smith has filed for the District 13 seat held by Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed (D-Newport).
-- Independent Taylor A. Dame has filed for the District 11 seat held by Christopher Ottiano (R-Portsmouth).
-- **PRIMARY** Democrat Christine A. Lachappelle-Miller has filed for the District 16 Senate seat held by Senator Elizabeth Crowley (D-Central Falls).
-- Lawyer and gadfly Keven McKenna has filed as a Democrat for the District 17 seat held by the only independent in the General Assembly, Senator Edward O'Neill (I-Lincoln).
-- Senate Finance chairman Michael McCaffrey (D-Warwick) will not face a challenge this year from Laura Pisaturo, who ran an aggressive campaign against him in 2012. In an email to supporters, Pisaturo writes, "Many of you have asked me whether I am running for political office this year. I am truly humbled by your encouragement and constant support. I wanted you to be among the first to know that, for personal reasons and after careful consideration, I have made the decision not to run this year. I am committed to the ideals of public service and, without a doubt, will continue to find ways to be an advocate and make a positive difference in our community. I have not ruled out the possibility of running at another time. That said, there are many critical races this election season that will shape the future of our state. I ask those of you who would have supported me to use your time, energy and money to make a difference and help those candidates who share my vision of a transparent government that serves all Rhode Islanders. Your passion and commitment is exactly what our state needs to move forward together."
-- **PRIMARY** Dawson Hodgson is giving up his District 35 seat to run against Democratic Attorney General Peter Kilmartin. Republicans Mark W. Gee and Kimberly Ann Page and Democrat James M. Callaghan have filed for the race.
-- David Bates (R-Barrington), who has represented District 32 since first winning election in 1992, is not seeking re-election. Former state Republican Party chairman Giovanni Cicione and Barrington Town councilor Cindy Coyne, who is married to deputy attorney general Gerald Coyne, are running for the seat.
-- **PRIMARY** Democrat Chris Wall is running against Senator Gayle Goldin (D-Providence), who won the seat formerly held by Rhoda Perry in 2012.
-- Margeaux Morisseau, a Democrat, is challenging Senator Nick Kettle (R-Coventry). Independent Zachary Farnum has also filed.
-- Republican Steve Lemois is running against Democratic Senator Donna Nesselbush (D-Pawtucket). Independent John T. Monahan has also filed.
-- **PRIMARY** Republican Hasan Alsawaf and Democrat David Fasteson have filed for the District 22 seat held by Senator Stephen Archambault (D-Smithfield).
-- Independent Lauri Archambault has filed for the District 23 seat held by Senator Paul Fogarty (D-Glocester).
-- Independent Michael Moniz and Democrat Lewis Pryeor have filed for the District 24 seat held by Senator Marc Cote.
-- Republican Sara Sweeney has filed for the District 27 seat held by Senator Hanna Gallo (D-Cranston).
-- Independent Steven Archer has filed for the District 30 seat held by Senator William Walaska (D-Warwick).
-- Independent James M. Roche has filed for the District 31 seat held by Senator Erin Lynch (D-Warwick).
-- **PRIMARY** Democrat Frank Hyde and Republican Michael Madonna have filed for the District 33 seat held by Senator Leonidas "Lou" Raptakis (D-Coventry).
-- Independent Cameron Ennis and Republican Elaine J. Morgan have filed for the District 34 seat held by Senator Catherine Cool Rumsey.