RI Democratic delegation to host Chafee fundraiser
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Rhode Island’s independent governor will get some help from the state’s Democratic congressmen next week when they host a fundraiser for him in Washington D.C.
Gov. Lincoln Chafee will be the beneficiary at Monday’s event hosted by U.S. Sens. Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse, U.S. Reps. Jim Langevin and David Cicilline and former congressman Patrick Kennedy.
Chafee, who served in the U.S. Senate as a Republican, has said he may consider joining the Democratic Party to run for another term. On Wednesday he said that normally, politicians stick to party lines in terms of who they support — though he noted he has no party — so he’s ‘‘very, very grateful’’ for their support.
Chafee downplayed talk about the possibility he could change parties, saying there is nothing to read into about his intentions just because the Democrats are staging a fundraiser for him.
A spokesman for Cicilline likewise dismissed speculation about the fundraiser and Chafee’s partisan loyalties, noting the election is nearly two years away.
‘‘At this point we don’t even really know who the candidates are going to be,’’ said spokesman Rich Luchette. ‘‘I don’t even think we’re thinking ahead to that. I wouldn’t read too deeply into it from that perspective.’’
Two high-profile Democrats are believed to be eyeing next year’s gubernatorial race: Treasurer Gina Raimondo and Providence Mayor Angel Taveras. Former state auditor general Ernest Almonte, another Democrat, already has announced his intention to run.
Kennedy said he hasn’t spoken to Chafee about whether he might join the party. The former representative praised Chafee for his work on mental health issues, a cause Kennedy has taken up since leaving Congress.
‘‘Gov. Chafee has a great deal of support on the left,’’ Kennedy said.