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Kelly in the Providence mayoral mix

Matt just beat me to the punch in reporting what has become widely known in Providence -- that John Kelly, the CEO of Meeting Street School, the chief of the Providence Zoning Board, and a former in-house lawyer for Buff Chace's Cornish Associates -- is in the mayoral mix for 2010. Kelly has formed a political organization for the purpose of fundraising, and been working to build a war chest.

With the news that John Kelly, CEO of Meeting St. School, had a fundraiser on November 18th that all but declared his candidacy for Mayor of Providence at the East Side home of prominent Democratic Party donor, Paul Moran, I figured I would continue our ongoing speculation  about who will compete in the 2010 race for Mayor of Providence (alphabetical order after Cicilline):

  • David Cicilline incumbent (d) - Probably running for Governor, but assured re-election if he runs again for Mayor.
  • Frank Caprio (d) - The General Treasurer and former Senate finance chairman who has good relations in the Latino community and who can raise hundreds of thousands of dollars pretty easily might easily take out a crowded field if he jumps out of the Governor's race and into this race.
  • Lincoln Chafee (r or i) - Word has it that if he runs for anything, it will be Mayor of his new city, Providence. While his numbers in Ward 1, 2, 3 and 5 would likely be high, Chafee would have real problems in the Black and Latino wards of the city. 
  • Rep. Steve Costantino or Rep. Gordon Fox (d) - Expect the person who is not going to succeed Bill Murphy as Speaker in 2010 to run for Mayor. It looks to be Costantino now. If so, Costantino can surely raise lots of money through his experience on House Finance, but will face tough questions about underfunding Providence schools when he controlled the purse strings.
  • Jim DeRentis (d) - This executive vice president of Bank Rhode Island would have great fundraising prowess and solid name recognition in the West Broadway and East Side communities.
  • Dean Esserman (d) - The current Providence police chief has moved mountains in reforming one of the nation's most troubled police departments.  Running on the police reform issue alone could move Esserman to the front of the pack quickly.   
  • Terry Hassett (d) - Ward 12 Councilman (Smith Hill) and current City Council majority leader. An extremely outgoing and likeable elected official, his fate might likely be determined by his first few years in power in the Council and what he and Mancini can accomplish regarding economic development, a living wage ordinance and resizing of the City Council.
  • Kevin Jackson (d) - Jackson has great relationships in Providence's communities of color because of his advocacy and his years supporting youth sports opportunities.  However, the popular Ward 3 councilman (Mt. Hope, Summit) would have to increase his name recognition and his fundraising capacity if he were to make a run. 
  • John Kelly (d) - (see above) A prolific fundraiser for Meeting St. school, Kelly would go after the East Side and growing young professional vote in the city.  He is currently chair of the Providence Zoning Board.
  • Sen. Juan Pichardo (d) - Represents South Providence and the West End and, like Tavares, has a strong Latino base and an affability to win over non-Latino voters. Challenges for him would be fundraising the dollars to run a city-wide campaign.
  • Mike Solomon - This Ward 5 Councilman won a huge victory over incumbent Councilman Patrick Butler in 2006 and represents the highest turnout ward in the City besides the East Side.  He also has high name recognition because of his family's political history and his neighborhood activism in Olneyville (he owns Wes' Rib House). 
  • Angel Taveras (d) - Ran for Congress in 2000 against Langevin, Coyne-McCoy and McAllister and finished a respectable third. Currently, a Providence attorney and the chair of the RI John Edwards campaign as well as a new Providence Housing Court judge. He is a top-tier candidate. He would likely get 20% of the total vote just from the Latino community if he is the only Latino in the race.
  • Cliff Wood (d) - Ward 2 Councilman (East Side) who easily disposed of incumbent Rita Williams in 2006. He would count on the East Side and young, artsy scene for his base and would talk about his experience as a cabinet level aide in the Cicilline administration.
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