Rhode Island’s Democratic secretary of state primary between Newport investor Guillaume De Ramel and Nellie Gorbea is shaping up as one of the state’s most interesting down ballot elections in this 2014 campaign cycle.
De Ramel will announce this afternoon that he has secured the endorsement of former U.S. Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy, who represented the state’s First District from his first election in 1994 until he decided against running for reelection in 2010.
``Rhode Island needs to elect new leaders that will focus on making the state economically competitive in a new economy,’’ said Kennedy. ``I am supporting Guillaume because he understands that the most important thing he can do as our next secretary of state is to make it easier to do business in Rhode Island by increasing openness, transparency and accessibility. Guillaume is the best candidate for secretary of state and I am proud to join his team.’’
Gorbea is a former deputy secretary of state under Matt Brown and has been running a vigorous campaign. It is rare for Rhode Island to have such well-qualified candidates for a down ballot office that while important, especially is regulating lobbyists and elections, too often has not carried a lot of clout in the General Assembly.
While Gorbea is campaigning hard, De Ramel has so far garnered more organized labor endorsements and support from Democratic town and city committees. Incumbent Secretary of State Ralph Mollis, who is term-limited, is leaving the post to run for the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor.