Lorne Adrain is leaving the Providence mayoral election in hopes that his departure gives a candidate other than former mayor Buddy Cianci a clearer path to victory.
In a statement, Adrain did not mention Cianci, but announced why he is ending his independent candidacy.
``In entered the race for mayor of Providence with the goal of moving our city forward,’’ said Adrain, a community leader who lives in the Fox Point neighborhood. ``Now that the field of candidates has been settled, it is clear to me that it presents a substantial risk to the progress we all do desperately need and want. With this in mind, I am withdrawing from the race. My decision gives us all the greatest opportunity to move Providence forward.’’
Most people who work in or are close to mayoral politics think Cianci’s candidacy hinges on a multi-candidate mayoral candidate field where the former mayor, twice forced from office by felony convictions and charges, could win with well under 50 percent of the vote. That was the case in 1990, when Cianci defeated independent Frederick Lippitt and Democrat Andrew Annaldo by capturing a bit more a third of the ballots cast.
Adrain’s independent candidacy had set up a likely four-way general election among the winner of the three-way Democratic primary, Cianci, also running as an independent, Republican Dr. Daniel Harrop. Now, the three-way arithmetic establishes a steeper hill for Cianci.
Adrain, a former chairman of the Rhode Island Board of Governors for Higher Education, is known as an education advocate. As chairman of the board, he successfully crafted the rule that created a state `Dream Act’ that permits qualified children of undocumented immigrants to attend the University of Rhode Island (Adrain’s alma mater), Rhode Island College and Community College of Rhode Island and pay in-state tuition.
``I will be eternally grateful for the encouragement and support I have received from thousands of people,’’ stated Adrian, the husband of celebrated novelist Ann Hood. ``My supporters and the many people in Providence who shared their hopes and dreams with me will be the inspiration for my service and contributions in the days ahead.’’
Adrain’s leaving the campaign will probably ignite a scramble for his supporters and campaign funders. His strength was on the vote-rich East Side, where he and his family have lived for many years.
``This was a tough decision for me but the right choice for Providence,’’ said Adrain. ``Let’s all vote to move our city forward and work together to achieve our potential – a Providence we can be proud of.
Adrian has a long resume of community good works. He is the founder of National Neighborhood Day and co-founder of Social Enterprise Greenhouse-R.I.
Adrain drew praise from several other candidates. ``Lorne Adrian's departure from the race shows foresight and selflessness that are testaments to his leadership,'' said Jorge Elorza, a Democratic aspirant and law professor at Roger Williams University. ``This election remains a conversation about Providence's future, and we can all gain from the wisdom, ideas and experience Lorne Adrain has to contribute to that conversation.''
Said City Council President Mike Solomon, the endorsed Democratic aspirant: ``I want to commend Lorne for his committment to public service and his willingness to put his name forward as a mayoral candidate...I certaintly wish him well in his future endeavors and know he'll find a way to contribute to our community in another role.''