Cranston Mayor Allan Fung told a group of Tiverton Republicans Wednesday evening that he's running for governor in 2018.
"Citing the inspiration of Governor Baker in Massachusetts, Allan Fung tells the Tiverton Republicans he is running for governor again," according to a report by conservative writer Justin Katz. "He cites problems with our governor and the General Assembly and the flight of younger families and has plenty of material to cite in criticizing the incumbent."
Fung was the Republican candidate for governor in 2014, losing to Democrat Gina Raimondo by about four points. He did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday night.
Fung was widely expected to take another shot at the governor's office, although he had not formally made an announcement before his remarks to the Tiverton Republicans. The appearance by a Cranston mayor in Tiverton, displayed in advance on the state GOP web site, nonetheless suggested a ramping up of campaign activity.
Fung will have competition to be the GOP candidate for governor. Former Warwick state Rep. Joe Trillo, who served as President Donald Trump's honorary campaign chairman in Rhode Island last year, is moving ahead with his own campaign, although he has not made a formal announcement.
Trillo, who formerly served as Rhode Island's national GOP committeeman, has strong connections with national Republicans and is viewed as a more unalloyed conservative than Fung -- factors that could aid Trillo in a GOP primary.
House Minority Leader Patricia Morgan of West Warwick is also considering a run, although it remains unclear if she can raise enough money to support a campaign. Morgan has reportedly been traveling extensively recently in an effort to boost her fundraising.