Frank Caprio "wants another opportunity"; plans to run for treasurer in 2014

Apr 26, 2013

Former state Treasurer Frank Caprio, whose gubernatorial campaign imploded in 2010, plans to run for the treasurer's office in 2014, according to his former spokesman, Peter Kerwin.

"I know that he's in," Kerwin says.

Kerwin says Caprio plans to run regardless of whether there are other candidates for the treasurer's office, including current Treasurer Gina Raimondo (who is widely expected to seek the governor's office next year). Kerwin says Caprio is also motivated in part by a controversial remark directed at President Obama (see below) that came to overshadow his run for governor in 2010: 

"It's a chance for him to work for the people of Rhode Island again and I think he wants another opportunity to do that, realizing that his last race wasn't his finest moment. I think he'd like a chance to make this the best treasurer's office in the United States again.

Caprio did not immediately return a call to his cell phone or an email. Caprio went to work as a managing director for Chatham Capital in Providence after the 2010 race for governor.

Caprio is part of one of Rhode Island's best known political families. With his brother, David, then a state representative, the family's political fortunes were on an upward trajectory in 2006.

Yet Frank Caprio was never able to sell his 2010 gubernatorial campaign to rank and file Democrats, precipitating his nationally publicized quip that President Obama should "shove it." 

Caprio was alone among the major gubernatorial candidates in July 2010 when he embraced the state's ill-fated deal with 38 Studios. He reversed course in the following month.

The Democrat wound up placing well behind independent Lincoln Chafee and Republican John Robitaille in the November election. Meanwhile, David Caprio lost his state rep seat in Narragansett to liberal challenger Teresa Tanzi.

More recently, Frank Caprio has helped his successor, Gina Raimondo -- who is expected to run for governor next year -- with fundraising.

David Caprio has been mentioned as a possible successor to departing state Democratic chairman Ed Pacheco.

In related news, it appears the limit on 2 terms by state general office holders applies only to consecutive terms. Chris Barnett, spokesman for Secretary of State Ralph Mollis, offered this information when asked about the question:

In 1992, voters approved a ballot question to amend the state Constitution to increase the terms of general officers from two years to four years and set term limits. According to Article IV, Section I, “No person shall serve consecutively in the same general office for more than two (2) full terms….” The changes took effect with the election of 1994. Bristol Republican Nancy Mayer was the first treasurer elected to a four-year term. Rather than run for re-election in 1998, she ran unsuccessfully against Providence Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse for the open attorney general seat. The last treasurer to serve more than eight years was East Providence Democrat Raymond Hawksley, who served a record 28 years from 1949 to 1977.

This post has been updated and expanded.