Former President Bill Clinton came to Rhode Island Wednesday to lend his support to an old family friend, Seth Magaziner, one of two Democrats vying to be the state's next treasurer. More than 200 people turned out for the fundraiser ($50 suggested contribution) at the Rhode Island Convention Center.
Clinton cited his long association with the Magaziner family; Seth's father, Ira was a top aide in the Clinton White House and remains close to the Clintons (he also wrote the Greenhouse Compact, a 1984 initiative meant to spark Rhode Island's economy; voters rejected approving the money necessary to impact the plan).
Clinton says he’s backing Magaziner, 31, because of his merits. The former president praised Magaziner’s economic blueprint, which calls for an infrastructure bank, a new authority for funding school building improvements and other changes.
"Everything that Seth in this blueprint is consistent with what we as a nation and you in Rhode Island should be doing to rebuild broad-based prosperity, shared prosperity," Clinton said.
In a nod to Magaziner's age, Clinton said he was 30 when he won election as Arkansas' attorney general and 32 when he became governor.
The Clintons remain very popular in Rhode Island. In 2008, Hillary Clinton scored a decisive victory over Barack Obama in Rhode Island's primary election.
Clinton’s support for Magaziner marks a change from 2010, when Clinton backed Magaziner’s opponent, former treasurer Frank Caprio.
In a statement, Caprio said he understands the friendship between the Clintons and the Magaziner, but that the campaign is about issues like helping small businesses and lowering fees paid to Wall Street investors. Caprio served as treasurer from 2007 to 2011 and has emphasized his experience with the job.
Caprio and Magaziner will square off September 9 in the primary election to succeed outgoing Treasurer Gina Raimondo, who is running running for governor. The winner will face independent candidate Ernest Almonte in the November election.