As expected, Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) officially has a primary challenge in his first re-election race. Businessman Anthony Gemma announced Sunday that he would seek the Democratic nomination in Rhode Island's 1st district, according to WPRI.
Cicilline has been in deep electoral trouble since he was sworn into office in early 2011. It was revealed soon after the former mayor of Providence came to Congress that the city was in dire financial straits, and he has been under fire ever since.
Gemma, who lost the Democratic primary to Cicilline in what was then an open seat race in 2010, has previously told Roll Call that he has a capacity and willingness to self fund. The primary is Sept. 11.
The district's demographics overwhelmingly favor Democrats, but Cicilline is viewed as such a political liability that Roll Call rates the general election as a Tossup. Over the past year, Democrats in Washington have continued to express confidence in Cicilline.
Retired state police superintendent Brendan Doherty is the likely GOP nominee. He entered the race nearly a year ago.
Gemma did not mention Cicilline by name during his announcement, but he did argue that he is the strongest nominee.
“The numbers don’t lie,” he said, according to WPRO. “In the general election, I am the only Democrat who can beat Brendan Doherty.”