Langevin Won’t Run for R.I. Senate

Posted March 22, 2005 at 5:24pm

Rep. James Langevin (R.I.) is not going to seek the Democratic nomination for the Senate in the Ocean State next year, according to Democratic sources.

The Congressman is expected to issue a formal statement Wednesday, though the news is likely to air on Rhode Island television stations tonight, the sources said.

Most political observers believed it was a forgone conclusion that the three-term Congressman from the 2nd district would gun for Sen. Lincoln Chafee (R) next year in the Democratic-leaning state.

Chafee is a top Democratic target.

Langevin initially had given himself an April 1 deadline to decide on the race.

But his decision may have been hastened by recent rumors, first reported in Roll Call, that Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D) was taking another look at the Senate race after initially passing and throwing his support behind Langevin.

Langevin was considered a top Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee recruit, but he came under heavy criticism from abortion rights activists who did not like the party recruiting a candidate who opposes abortion rights.

They picketed his big Providence fundraiser earlier this month and penned letters to the DSCC to show their displeasure and threatened to support another Democrat in the Senate race, Rhode Island Secretary of State Matt Brown, or possibly even Chafee. Both Brown and Chafee are abortion rights supporters.

Brown is the only declared Democrat in the race, but speculation remains that he will defer to Kennedy, should Kennedy enter the race as now expected, and instead seek Kennedy’s 1st district seat.

Kennedy’s office could not be reached for comment Tuesday evening.