Updated: Sep 19
Former Cranston Mayor Allan Fung kicked off his congressional campaign on Tuesday April 26 at Varnum Armory. In his kickoff speech, Fung delivered a message of making politics in America less polarizing and partisan.
“It’s time to say goodbye to hyper-partisan politicians and usher in a new wave of leaders who are laser-focused problem solvers. [And] leaders who have fearlessly tackled the big issues and accomplished things that everyone said was impossible,” said Fung.
Fung cited his style of governing as Mayor during tough times for Cranston such as COVID and the 2010 floods.
“We transcended and went beyond ideological differences to transform our city that was once on the brink of financial ruin into one of the best cities to live in America,” says Fung.
“We pulled neighbors in the lifeboats during those once in a century floods in 2010. We delivered food and medication to our seniors and families in need during the pandemic. We built playgrounds and recreation fields, a vibrant business environment and a whole community that celebrated each other’s success.”
Fung highlighted kitchen table issues in his speech such as rising inflation and the need for more products to be made in the United States.
He said, “We have to tackle this uncontrolled inflation that’s hitting us in our pocketbooks. It’s the number one worry for all hard-working middle class Americans right now. Not even [just] middle class, every single American right now is getting hit in their pocketbooks, and that’s wrong.”
Another key issue he noted was for voters to elect leaders that will support law enforcement.
“Now more than ever, we need a leader who will stand shoulder to shoulder with, and I see many of those guys in the room. Guys that I’m proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with – our law enforcement community.”
In attendance were elected officials of different political affiliations, party leaders and candidates seeking office. The crowd included the likes of RI GOP Chairwoman Sue Cienki, Mayor of Cranston Ken Hopkins, Mayor of Warwick Frank Picozzi, GOP candidate for Governor Ashley Kalus, and more.
Picozzi explained prior to the event that his appearance does not signal an endorsement for Fung.
Republicans were clearly energized during the kickoff. The party believes a favorable national environment, lack of an incumbent, and Fung’s past performances in the district increase his chance to flip the seat red. Rhode Island’s Second Congressional District hasn’t elected a Republican since Congresswoman Claudine Schneider ran for her final term in 1988.
The energy is similar on the Democratic side. The current Democratic frontrunner, General Treasurer Seth Magaziner, has $1.4 million in his campaign warchest – a little over double of Fung’s $600,000. Magaziner hopes to capitalize on the frequently used 2017 photo of Fung at Former President Donald Trump’s inauguration wearing a “Trump” hat. Magaziner’s campaign has gone as far as to create a website using the photo and citing Fung voted for Trump in 2020. How effective the Trump card will be remains to be seen. Republicans argue that Virginia’s 2021 gubernatorial election shows that attack point is waning in efficiency.
Fung explained Democrats are using that photo because of fear that he can make the election competitive. As for who he’ll vote for to become Speaker, he said to reporters after the speech, “That’s what’s going to come down the line. We’re talking about months from now. But I support a lot of the Republican leadership’s policies and agenda they’re putting out — it fits in line with what I’m hoping to do.”
Currently, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is favored to become Speaker if the GOP flip the House. Fung is garnering support from the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) and high-profile Republicans in the House of Representatives. The NRCC have added Fung on the radar for their Young Gun’s list. Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (R-NY) has endorsed Fung for the seat – a move that will likely help his standing with the Trump base.
Before Fung can start campaigning for the general election, he still faces a primary challenge from the 2020 GOP nominee Bob Lancia. Lancia plans to stay in the race despite another Republican, Senator Minority Whip Jessica de la Cruz (R-Dist. 23), dropping out weeks earlier.
“I am dedicated and focused on our goal to bring the voices and issues of the 2nd Congressional District to Washington as their newest elected Representative from Rhode Island,” said Lancia.
“This is a mission I began when I first announced that I would challenge Congressman Langevin in February of 2021 and I look forward to continuing to prove to voters of the district that I will speak in their voice on ALL matters important to our communities.”
Both major political parties’ energy ensures this is a key congressional race to watch throughout the election cycle.