Brendan Doherty says he has "absolutely, positively no intention" of running as a Republican candidate for attorney general in 2014, although he's still considering a campaign for governor.
Some Republicans hope that Doherty, the former superintendent of the state police, would represent the GOP as an alternative to Democratic AG Peter Kilmartin in next year's race for attorney general. But Doherty sounds distinctly uninterested in the idea.
"I believe the attorney general should be an attorney," he says. Doherty, who staged an unsuccessful run in the First Congressional District last year against David Cicilline, doesn't have a law degree.
Doherty and Cranston Mayor Allan Fung are the two most-discussed potential candidates for governor among Republicans. Doherty says he expects to make an up or down decision on a run in the next two months.
He declined comment on whether either he or Fung have pledged to avoid a gubernatorial primary, adding, "I have had private discussions with Mayor Fung."
In 2010, Republican John Robitaille came within a few percentage points of beating Lincoln Chafee; Robitaille has ruled out a run in 2014.
Rhode Island hasn't elected a Democratic governor since Bruce Sundlun won his second two-year term in 1992.
That dry spell may bolster the chances of expected Democratic candidates Angel Taveras and Gina Raimondo, although they would face a hard-fought primary, along with Ernest Almonte. Speculation continues, meanwhile, about whether Chafee, a Republican-turned-independent, will become a Democrat.