The leading Democratic candidates for governor used a partisan event Tuesday to describe themselves as the best choice to help struggling Rhode Islanders. A little more than three months remains until the primary election on September 9.
Candidates for state and federal offices spoke to the Democratic state committee, which will decide party endorsements next month. Gubernatorial candidate Gina Raimondo used the occasion to preview her first TV commercial. It pays homage to her father, Joseph, who died at age 87 earlier this month.
“He taught me how to be brave. He taught me how to be compassionate. And you know, he said all the time, Gina, never forget about the little guy, the guy who gets up in the morning and goes to work,” said Raimondo.
Rival Democrat Angel Taveras responded by saying he considers himself the only candidate who grew up with clothing on layaway at Ann and Hope.
“I tell you that because I want you to know where I come from. I was raised by a working mom, she worked from 3-11, second shift, to raise 3 kids. She never made a lot of money, but she didn’t complain,” said Taveras.
Clay Pell introduced himself using several different languages and says he wants to represent all Rhode Islanders, not just the rich and powerful. Pell says his experience as the only Coast Guard prosecutor at a Marine base in North Carolina shows that he’s tough.
“It was my job to go into courtrooms and persuade Marines to convict one of their own. If that doesn’t prepare you to negotiate with the General Assembly, I don’t know what will,” said Pell.
Polls show Taveras and Raimondo in a tight race for governor, with fellow Pell trailing behind. With the start of TV advertising, the primary fight is expected to get more intense.
State Rep Frank Ferri of Warwick used the forum to announce he’s joining the Democratic race for lieutenant governor. Ferri will face Secretary of State Ralph Mollis and Cumberland Mayor Daniel McKee.