Ted Nesi reports that 4 Democrats are eyeing the Secretary of State’s race in 2014:
It’s a down-ballot race more than three years away, but politicians are already angling to succeed Ralph Mollis as Rhode Island’s secretary of state when the term-limited incumbent completes his tenure in 2014.
At least three Democrats – Providence City Councilman Terrence Hassett and two state senators, Jamie Doyle of Pawtucket and Juan Pichardo of Providence – are seriously considering a run for the office, WPRI.com confirmed this week.
“I’m not going to say that I am running, and I’m not going to say that I’m not running,” said Doyle, 39, who leads a medical business and is the son of the six-term Pawtucket mayor. “My biggest concern is 2012, which is my Senate election. … That’s the first hurdle.”
Pichardo, 44, a self-employed consultant, also acknowledged eyeing Mollis’ job. ”I’m definitely interested,” he said. “Absolutely.”
Hassett, who survived a near-fatal car accident last fall, has already made clear he is likely to run for secretary of state. The councilman considered a bid for the office in 2006, the year Mollis won, and is “as serious as a heart attack” about it this time, a person close to him told WPRI.com.
Hassett, 51, starts out with a sizable financial advantage over Doyle and Pichardo. The councilman’s campaign war chest totaled $33,942 on June 30, while Doyle had $7,088. Pichardo had $3,105 on March 31, the last time he filed a report.
A fourth Democrat whom insiders think may consider entering the race – state Rep. Deborah Ruggiero of Jamestown – demurred but did not rule it out. “It is a long, long way away, and there’s an awful lot of ground to cover in between,” she said. “I’m certainly flattered that my name is being bandied about by people.” Ruggiero had $12,504 on June 30.