Former Providence Mayor Joseph R. Paolino Jr., weighing another bid for the job, tells N4N that he will run as an independent if he gets in the race.
"If I do this, I will do it as an independent," he says. "I don't think there is a Democratic or Republican way of filling potholes or removing snow."
Paolino says he would simply feel most "comfortable" reaching a broad swath of Providence voters as an independent. But the move has an obvious political advantage: it would allow him to skip a competitive Democratic primary and go right to the general election.
Democratic candidates include lawyer Angel Tavares, City Councilman John Lombardi and State Representative Steven Costantino. With Tavares hoping to cobble together a coalition of East Side liberals and South Side Latinos, a primary run might have left Paolino splitting the more traditional, white ethnic vote with Lombardi and Costantino - making it difficult for any from that triumvirate to prevail.
Paolino, who has already put $500,000 of his own money into his campaign coffers, is clearly counting on a financial advantage, name recognition, and a 20-year career as a businessman in a recession-wracked city aching for economic development to propel him to victory in a general election tilt.
Paolino, who says he would very much like to be mayor again, set no timetable for a final decision. But he says his plan to run as an independent, should he hop in the campaign, has bought him a bit more time to decide.