David Caprio

House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello is recommending state Representative Joseph McNamara (D-Warwick) as the next chairman of the Rhode Island Democratic Party.

McNamara was first elected in 1994 and chairs the House Health, Education and Welfare Committee, although he may be best known for championing a bill to make calamari the state's official appetizer. The legislation became law this year, after dying in the state Senate in 2013.

U.S. Sen. Jack Reed D-R.I., made official this morning what everyone in Rhode Island’s political circuit  assumed: That he is a candidate for reelection to a fourth six-year term in the Senate.

Reed’s announcement came before a crowd of 1,000 of his supporters at the senator’s 25th annual May Breakfast at Rhodes-on-the- Pawtuxet in his home city of Cranston.

John Bender / RIPR

The newly elected chair of the Rhode Island Democratic Party is our guest on Political Roundtable this week.  David Caprio weighs in on his problems with organized labor, a potentially fractious gubernatorial primary and his goals for the party that dominates Rhode Island politics. Rhode Island Public Radio’s Flo Jonic is filling in for Ian Donnis as moderator.

Do you have insight or expertise on this topic? Please email us, we'd like to hear from you. news@ripr.org

Ian Donnis / RIPR

David Caprio warmed to the task of scorning Republicans following his unanimous election Thursday night as the new chairman of the Rhode Island Democratic Party. Speaking before a few hundred party insiders at the Portuguese Club in Cranston, he offered a series of comparison-contrast points to highlight how, as he described it, Democrats remain the party of working families.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Rhode Island Democrats plan to make their selection of a new state chairman official this evening Thursday.  Former state rep David Caprio won the backing for the post last month from House Speaker Gordon Fox.

Democrats will hold a state committee meeting this evening to elect Caprio as their new chairman. No other candidates for the volunteer position are expected.


Former state rep David Caprio has House Speaker Gordon Fox’s blessing to become the next chair of the Rhode Island Democratic Party.  Rhode Island Democrats are expected to formally endorse Caprio during an October 3rd state committee meeting in Cranston.  

David Caprio is a member of one of Rhode Island’s most prominent political families. His brother Frank ran for governor in 2010 and hope to win back his old job as state treasurer next year. Their father, also named Frank Caprio, is the chief municipal judge in Providence.

RIPR has learned that former state representative David Caprio has been selected to be the new chairman of the Rhode Island Democratic Party.

Larry Berman, spokesman for House Speaker Gordon Fox, says Fox is recommending Caprio for the position and will place his name in nomination during an October 3 Democratic State Committee meeting at the Portuguese Club in Cranston. "It is up to the committee" to select Caprio, Berman said. Asked if there will be any other candidates for state party chair, Berman said, "Not that we've heard."

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.