With anticipation swirling about a possible Democratic primary clash between Gina Raimondo and Angel Taveras in the 2014 governor’s race, the only announced candidate — former auditor general Ernest Almonte – says he’s in the campaign for good.
Taveras and Raimondo have emerged as the two most popular elected officials in Rhode Island, and the Providence mayor and state treasurer have demonstrated their fundraising prowess. Yet Almonte says he won’t end his campaign based on an formal entry into the governor’s race by other hopefuls:
“I’m not worried about the money, I’m not worried about other candidates that get in. None of them are going to change my plans. I have a plan to win, and that’s what I plan on doing.”
Almonte says he gave careful consideration to his run and believes he has the skill set needed to move Rhode Island forward.
His background includes 15 years as state auditor general, time as an adviser to the US comptroller general, chairman of an audit committee for the US Department of Defense — “I have meetings in the Pentagon all the time” — and experience in municipal finance issues.
“I have a big thing that a lot of people don’t have, and it’s the ability to bring people that are far apart — I have the ability to bring them back together to help solve a problem.”
Raimondo and Taveras can point to their own accomplishments: the treasurer demonstrated widely noted leadership in helping Rhode Island to pass a landmark pension overhaul last year; the mayor has helped bring Providence back from the fiscal brink, in part by negotiating new agreements with various city unions.
Almonte says he’s created goodwill by volunteering more than 200 hours of his time to work on municipal finance concerns in Providence and Pawtucket. He predicts his ability to raise money will be a surprise, and says he plans to ramp up his campaign activities in January.