Two Democrats Jump Into Race for Kennedy’s Seat

Posted February 13, 2010 at 12:52pm

Two candidates wasted little time announcing their plans to try to succeed retiring Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.).

Providence Mayor David Cicilline and former Rhode Island Democratic Chairman Bill Lynch both said Saturday that they would compete in the Sept. 14 Democratic primary for Kennedy’s seat. Both said they would make jobs and the economy their top priorities.

Kennedy, son of the late Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), announced Friday that he would not seek a ninth term.

Cicilline, 48, is the first openly gay mayor of Providence.

“Rhode Islanders don’t want to hear about billions of federal dollars in bank bailouts,” Cicilline said, according a statement Saturday. “They don’t even want to hear about billions of dollars of stimulus funds tagged for Rhode Island if that money isn’t helping them find jobs and pay for groceries today.”

Lynch, 52, is the brother of Rhode Island Attorney General Patrick Lynch (D), who is running for governor this year.

“It is inexplicable that billions of dollars of taxpayer money was used to bail out Wall Street, yet small business owners — on Main Street here in Rhode Island — still cannot access capital,” he said Saturday.

Although Cicilline and Lynch are the first Democrats in the 1st district race, they will hardly be the last. Also mentioned as possible contenders: Lt. Gov. Elizabeth Roberts, former Rep. Bob Weygand, former Lt. Gov. Charles Fogarty and state Rep. Betsy Dennigan (D), who is currently challenging Rep. James Langevin (D) in Rhode Island’s 2nd district.

State Rep. John Loughlin was already in the race for Republicans, though former Cranston Mayor Steve Laffey (R) and state Republican Party Chairman Giovanni Cicione may also run.