Former Mayor of Cranston and RIC Alumnus Allan Fung (‘92) is running for Congress in RI’s Second Congressional District.
In his announcement email with the headline “I’M BACK,” Fung wrote, “We need a different type of leader in D.C. We need a problem solver. We need leaders who are willing to work with people on both sides of the aisle to bring common sense solutions to our everyday problems. I did just that in Cranston, and I can’t wait to do that for you as your next congressman.”
His official campaign launch will come “in the near future”. Fung now joins the Republican primary along with State Senate Minority Whip Jessica de la Cruz and the 2020 GOP nominee for the seat, Bob Lancia, who is running again.
It was originally believed that Fung was mulling a run for General Treasurer or Governor. However, a Republican’s chances of winning a Congressional race in District Two increased following Congressman Jim Langevin’s plans to retire.
The announcement of Fung’s entry doesn’t seem to discourage one of his primary opponents from continuing their congressional bid.
“This is America, and everyone has a right to pursue his or her dream. The action taken today by the former Mayor was anticipated and does nothing to change the direction of #TeamLancia,” Lancia wrote in a statement reacting to Fung’s announcement.
He added, “I was the first candidate to announce for this race last February 2021 on the Tara Granahan show after engaging in a spirited race against the current Congressman in 2020. I continue to believe that I am the best candidate to represent Rhode Island’s voters and citizens of the 2nd Congressional District in Washington starting in January 2023!”
de la Cruz also starts off with name recognition as she’s become a key voice for the GOP in the state legislature. Primaries typically bring out the extreme positions the party’s candidates have on key issues. That possibility could pull a moderate like Fung further right to eke out a victory but then make a general election an uphill battle.
General Treasurer Seth Magaziner, a potential general election opponent versus Fung, is already fundraising off of Fung’s entry. In an email sent to supporters that contains a photo of Fung in a Trump hat from 2017, Magaziner wrote, “Allan Fung – the Trump-supporting Republican who ran for Rhode Island governor and lost twice – just announced that he's running for Congress in RI-02. As the former mayor of Cranston, national Republicans know Fung is their best hope to flip this seat red in the midterm elections. We need your help to make sure that doesn't happen.”
The email showcases the path Democrats may go with as a general election strategy. It mimics what happened to Former U.S. Senator Lincoln Chafee in 2006. As many political analysts and local journalists explain, Chafee was a popular and moderate Republican, but the prospect of giving the GOP a Senate majority hurt him. Chafee lost his election that year when the Senate balance was at stake in a midterm like the House of Representatives is in 2022.
If Fung wins the GOP nomination, the National Republican Congressional Committee may pour more resources into the race — even more so with no incumbent on the ballot. The Rhode Island GOP sees this as their chance to have representation in the House of Representatives since Ronald Machtley gave up his seat to run for Governor in 1994. But before any general election conversations occur, the GOP has a competitive primary in its backyard that voters will decide in September