RIPR has learned that former state representative David Caprio has been selected to be the new chairman of the Rhode Island Democratic Party.
Larry Berman, spokesman for House Speaker Gordon Fox, says Fox is recommending Caprio for the position and will place his name in nomination during an October 3 Democratic State Committee meeting at the Portuguese Club in Cranston. "It is up to the committee" to select Caprio, Berman said. Asked if there will be any other candidates for state party chair, Berman said, "Not that we've heard."
Committee members are being notified of the meeting in writing in letters being sent Thursday evening, Berman said.
After becoming speaker in 2010, Fox selected Caprio as chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. "They have enjoyed a good friendship," Berman said. Fox believes Caprio "will be a great spokesman for the party," in part because of his political and legislative experience.
Caprio, part of one of Rhode Island's most prominent political families, represented Narragansett for about a decade before being ousted by Teresa Tanzi in a 2010 primary. He is the brother of Frank Caprio, who ran for governor as a Democrat in 2010 and hasn't specified which party he'll represent as a candidate for treasurer next year.
Caprio was reportedly selected in large part because of his perceived distance from the camps of expected Democratic gubernatorial candidates Angel Taveras and Gina Raimondo.
The speaker of the House traditionally has considerable influence over the selection of a state party chair.
The lawyer and former state lawmaker was guarded in offering comment before the October 3 election.
"It's an honor to be considered at this point," Caprio said. "It's certainly an exciting position."
Caprio is ticketed to succeed former RI Democratic chairman Ed Pacheco, who stepped down earlier this year to run for secretary of state.
Other candidates for the party post included Providence City Solicitor Jeff Padwa and Chris Fierro, formerly district director for Congressman David Cicilline.
David Caprio is the second-oldest son of Providence Municipal Court Chief Judge Frank Caprio Sr., star of the cult favorite TV Show "Caught in Providence."