Rhode Island’s Second Congressional District election: who’s in and who’s out

Raymond Baccari

News Editor

Photo via Ramaz Bluashvili

Congressman Jim Langevin’s announcement that he won’t seek re-election in 2022 surprised Rhode Islanders. Since this is the first time the state has an open congressional seat since Patrick Kennedy's retirement, the race to replace Langevin begins.


So far on the Republican side, Former District 16 State Representative Bob Lancia and State Senator Jessica de la Cruz (R-Dist. 23, Burriville, Glocester and North Smithfield) are running for the seat. Lancia, who ran against Langevin and garnered 41.5 percent of the vote, will continue to run for the seat despite a Republican Primary.


“There is no doubt in my mind that I am the best person to help lead Rhode Island through these tough times. Following the announcement almost one year ago that I would once again be running for Rhode Island’s 2nd Congressional District, I have worked tirelessly to prove that I am a leader people can trust,” Lancia said in a statement.


de la Cruz has raised $100,000 for her campaign after recently joining the race. The district, which contains Republican-leaning parts of the state, opens the door for Republicans to try and flip the seat. Aside from de la Cruz and Lancia, Former Cranston Mayor Allan Fung, another potential candidate, is weighing the option of either running for Congress or for General Treasurer. State Representative and RIC Alumna Patricia Morgan (R-Dist. 26, West Warwick, Coventry and Warwick) is looking at running in the Republican Primary too.


Dr. Omar Bah, founder of the Refugee Dream Center located in Providence, was the first Democrat to announce he’s running for the seat. "When Congressman Langevin recently announced his retirement, I saw a great opportunity to once again manifest the amazing opportunities I have had in this country since my arrival here as a refugee."


Bah added. "I will run as a democrat but my hope is to help in uniting the country, represent the diversity and experiences of people in this country, and to build and promote a moderate tone in Washington."


RIC’s Interim Executive Director of External Affairs and Communications, and Rhode Island Former Democratic Party Chairman, Ed Pacheco, is also running for the seat.


In a statement, Pacheco explained some of the key issues he hopes to address in Congress. “Together we can work to lift millions of children out of poverty; establish universal pre-k; help younger generations escape crushing debt through loan forgiveness; create good paying jobs by supporting the blue and green economy; fight for social justice; and support every American’s right to vote,”


Pacheco added, “This is a pivotal moment in our country’s history. Every day it feels as though we are being pulled further apart and the very fabric of our democracy is under attack. It’s as though politicians in Washington have forgotten us and are more interested in political gamesmanship than focusing on the people who elected them. Now more than ever, we can no longer sit on the sidelines. We must come together to advocate for what is best for our community, our state and our nation.”


Former Providence Mayor Angel Tavares will be the honorary Chairperson for Pacheco’s campaign. “I am proud to support Ed Pacheco in his campaign for Rhode Island’s second congressional district. I have known Ed for years, he is a person of integrity that will fight for us in Washington and will always listen to the diverse voices across our community,” Tavares said.


General Treasurer Seth Magaziner, who was initially running for Governor, dropped out of that race to join the growing list of candidates vying for the Democratic nomination. The spark for his congressional campaign is attributed to a potential Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) in January 2023. “National Republicans like Donald Trump and Kevin McCarthy seek to divide America, undermine democracy and appeal to the most chaotic, hateful and dangerous elements of their party. Rhode Island must do our part to ensure that they do not succeed,” said Magaziner.


Joy Fox, former staffer for Langevin and Former Governor Gina Raimondo, jumped into the race Monday. “I’m in. I am running for the Second Congressional District seat currently held by @JimLangevin,” she wrote on Twitter. “I love my community. We need a representative in Congress who knows the district and is willing to fight for every family.”


Several speculated candidates have ruled out a run. Some of the names include Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza, Former State Police Col. Brendan Doherty, State Senator Joshua Miller (D-Dist. 28, Cranston and Providence), Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea and Speaker of the House Joseph Shekarchi.


Former national political strategist Michael Neary, State Representatives Teresa Tanzi (D-Dist. 34, Narragansett and South Kingstown) and Carol Hagan McEntee (D-Dist. 33, South Kingstown and Narragansett) are contemplating if they will run.


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