Editor's note: A previous version of this story had nine candidates who had filed to run listed. The list has since expanded to ten following State Rep. Stephen Casey (D-Dist. 50) filing his FEC paperwork Monday afternoon.
The field of candidates who have filed for the special election to replace outgoing Rep. David Cicilline has now hit double digits. Aaron Regunberg, a former state representative and 2018 candidate for lieutenant governor, is the latest candidate to enter the First Congressional District’s special election.
“For fifteen years, I’ve been fighting to make a difference for everyday Rhode Islanders,” Regunberg said in his announcement. “As a state legislator, I built coalitions that passed laws to give working people paid sick days, higher wages, and access to renewable energy. As a community organizer in Providence, I stood up with folks who’ve been ignored for too long. And as a new lawyer, I’ve supported court cases to hold Big Oil companies accountable for their environmental crimes.”
In his announcement, Regunberg also highlights the issue of protecting the environment as a main priority.
“I am also a dad,” Regunberg added. “My son turned two in March, the same month the United Nations released its final warning that if we don’t start taking urgent action on the climate crisis, all of our children will be permanently locked-in to a dangerous future.”
Other policies Regunberg highlights in his announcement include protecting the right to choose, workers’ rights and the future of the country’s democracy.
“But that future hasn’t been decided yet,” Regunberg said. “It’s still up for grabs. Just like the future of our democracy. And the right of every woman to make her own healthcare decisions. And the ability of workers to build unions for a better life. And our power to stop Big Pharma, Big Banks, and Big Oil companies from ripping us off. To win these fights, we need people who can organize, and build coalitions, and make real change. That’s what I’ve been doing for years here in Rhode Island. And that's what I'd do in Congress.”
Before his candidacy for Congress, Regunberg ran for lieutenant governor in 2018. In that primary, Regunberg earned 48.9% of the vote, coming within 2,466 votes of unseating then-Lt. Gov. Dan McKee. A few years earlier, Regunberg won his first of two terms as state representative of House District 4 in 2014.
In his announcement statement, Regunberg also highlights endorsements from multiple elected officials. These endorsements include Providence Ward 3 City Councilwoman Sue AnderBois, Providence Ward 2 City Councilwoman Helen Anthony and State Rep. Cherie Cruz (D-Dist. 58). Those endorsements could help Regunberg garner votes in both Pawtucket, where Cruz represents, and the East side of Providence, where Anthony and AnderBois represent.
Currently, the number of candidates running for this seat contains nine who have filed, one who has announced they are running and several potential candidates who’ll announce their intentions any day now.
Ten candidates have filed for this seat, which includes:
Lt. Gov. Sabina Matos.
State Rep. Nathan Biah (D-Dist. 3).
State Sen. Sandra Cano (D-Dist. 8).
Allen Waters, who ran as the 2022 GOP nominee for this seat.
State Sen. Ana Quezada (D-Dist. 2).
State Rep. Stephen Casey (D-Dist. 50).
Providence Ward 1 City Councilman John Goncalves.
Nick Autiello, a former senior aide for Gov. Raimondo’s Commerce department.
Stephanie Beauté, who ran for secretary of state in 2022, announced she is running for this seat, but has not filed yet at the time of publication. Don Carlson, a renewable energy investor from Jamestown, is expected to join the race later this month.
Potential candidates who are still mulling a run are Pawtucket Mayor Don Grebien, East Providence Mayor Bob DaSilva, State Sen. Dawn Euer (D-Dist. 13) and State Sen. Meghan Kallman (D-Dist. 15).
No Republican candidates have filed to run for this seat. There is a possibility that an independent candidate enters the race. Arlene Violet, a former Republican attorney general of Rhode Island, recently said on an episode of Rhode Island PBS’s “A Lively Experiment” that she is seriously considering running as an independent.
Voters in this district will head to the polls for the Democratic and Republican primaries on Sept. 5, with the general election scheduled for Nov. 7.