Cranston Mayor Allan Fung is set to announce his Republican run for governor at 10 a.m. Monday at Taco, the Cranston-based manufacturer, according to campaign spokesman Patrick Sweeney. The campaign launch also includes a rally at 6 that evening at Chapel Grille at Sockanosset Crossroads.
A son of Chinese immigrants, Fung is one of the few bright spots for a Rhode Island Republican Party marginalized in the General Assembly and locked out of the state's five top general offices. He's proven a popular figure in Cranston since first winning election as mayor in 2008.
Fung will become the third major candidate to formally announce for Rhode Island's 2014 gubernatorial campaign, following Moderate-turned Republican Ken Block and Angel Taveras, the Democratic mayor of Providence. State General Treasurer Gina Raimondo is expected to announce her Democratic campaign before the end of the year, and Clay Pell, the grandson of the late Senator Claiborne Pell, says he's conducting "a serious process" to decide on a run over the next month.
Despite the Democratic domination of Rhode Island politics, voters have shown a preference for electing Republican governors over the last quarter-century. The last Democrat to win election as governor was the late Bruce Sundlun, who served two two-year terms, from 1991-1995.
Fung could also be helped by a bitter Democratic primary between Taveras, a longtime friend of the mayor, and Raimondo. Yet Block's emergence as a GOP candidate will force Fung to spend time and money in his own primary fight.
Fung had a campaign balance of $257,000 at the end of the second quarter of the year, compared with roughly $700,000 for Taveras and more than $2 million for Raimondo.