In a boost for Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza, state Rep. John Lombardi (D-Providence) has decided to seek re-election to his legislative post rather than running for mayor.
Although Lombardi would have been a likely underdog in a fight for City Hall, he placed second in the 2010 Democratic mayoral primary, outpacing the better-funded Steven Costantino -- showing how has strong name recognition and a solid following in Rhode Island's capital city.
The longtime former Providence councilor from Federal Hill has served in the Rhode Island House since first winning election in 2012.
Lombardi briefly served as interim mayor when Buddy Cianci stepped down after being convicted in the 2002 Plunder Dome trial. Cianci was succeeded by David Cicilline, who served two terms, Angel Taveras, who served one, and then Elorza, who was elected in 2014, as Cianci attempted one last comeback.
Lombardi told RIPR that fundraising was the top factor in his decision not to run for mayor. He would have needed to raise $500,000 to run a competive race, he said, and that seemed like an unrealistic goal. "I will continue to speak out on issues concerning Providence and the entire state," he said.
Elorza, who had a $660,000 campaign balance at the end of March, faces at least two Democratic challengers in the September 12 primary, activist Kobi Dennis and former Providence educator Robert DeRobbio, who plans to formally declared his candidacy at 10 a.m. Monday at City Hall.