Ex-GOP law­maker Trillo run­ning for gov­er­nor as in­de­pen­dent

Woonsocket Call - - Valley/Nation -

PROV­I­DENCE (AP) — For­mer GOP law­maker Joe Trillo said Tues­day he is run­ning for gov­er­nor as an in­de­pen­dent, cit­ing Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump as his in­spi­ra­tion — even as he said he will be leav­ing the party Trump leads.

“I want to bring pros­per­ity that Pres­i­dent Trump is bring­ing to our coun­try here to our great state. To do this I need to be on the bal­lot in Novem­ber,” Trillo said in a state­ment he read live on WPRO-AM. “I strongly be­lieve that the best way to fix our great state for all Rhode Is­lan­ders is to run as some­one with no ties to any po­lit­i­cal party and to be on the bal­lot as a choice for ev­ery voter, not just pri­mary vot­ers.”

Trillo was chair­man of Trump’s cam­paign in Rhode Is­land and echoed the Repub­li­can pres­i­dent’s lan­guage as he made the case for his can­di­dacy.

“Rhode Is­land will have a choice be­tween the same old pol­i­tics and politi­cians or a vote to drain the Rhode Is­land swamp,” Trillo said.

The de­ci­sion sets up what could be a three-per­son race in the cam­paign for gov­er­nor, some­thing that has be­come par for the course in Rhode Is­land. The last two gover­nors won in races that fea­tured mul­ti­ple major can­di­dates.

Trillo on Tues­day called him­self a pop­ulist who would run on “Trumpian poli­cies.”

Cur­rent Demo­cratic Gov. Gina Rai­mondo won with 41 per­cent in 2014 against Repub­li­can Al­lan Fung, who got 36 per­cent, and Mod­er­ate party can­di­date Bob Healey, who got 21 per­cent. In 2010, then-in­de­pen­dent Lin­coln Chafee won with just 36 per­cent, over Repub­li­can John Ro­bitaille, Demo­crat Frank Caprio and Mod­er­ate Ken Block.

Fung and House Mi­nor­ity Leader Pa­tri­cia Mor­gan have both an­nounced they are seek­ing the Repub­li­can nom­i­na­tion. Rai­mondo is ex­pected to seek a sec­ond term.

Chafee, who be­came a Demo­crat in of­fice, also is con­sid­er­ing a run. He told The As­so­ci­ated Press on Tues­day that Trillo’s en­try into the race would not change any­thing for him.

“If I run, it will be in a Demo­cratic pri­mary,” Chafee said.

Asked if he was firm on that de­ci­sion, he replied: “Yes, I am.”

Chafee said his motivation for a pos­si­ble run is the same as it was when he ran in the Demo­cratic pri­mary for pres­i­dent against Hil­lary Clin­ton, with whom he dis- agreed on for­eign pol­icy.

“That’s my motivation, is to give peo­ple choices, and I have a record of do­ing that on pol­icy,” Chafee said.

He cited among his con­cerns with the Rai­mondo ad­min­is­tra­tion the award­ing of sub­si­dies to pri­vate cor­po­ra­tions and prob­lems with the state’s com­puter ben­e­fits sys­tem that have hurt peo­ple who re­ceive food stamps.

Chafee said he doesn’t have a timetable for when he will de­cide on his run. He said al­though he knows that ear­lier is bet­ter, he said he thinks he de­serves to be able to take his time.

Trillo’s de­ci­sion caused some con­ster­na­tion among Repub­li­cans who see Rai­mondo as vul­ner­a­ble, and a three-way race as a tougher road for a Repub­li­can can­di­date. Sen. Elaine Mor­gan ex­pressed her dis­ap­point­ment.

“If that’s the case just hand the gov­er­nor­ship right back to Rai­mondo!” she tweeted.


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