While Rhode Island's statewide election in 2010 remains more than 30 months away, we can expect to see a heightened level of organizing among potential candidates in 2008. And Providence City Solicitor Joseph M. Fernandez has taken an early plunge by filing papers this month, indicating that he intends to be a Democratic candidate for attorney general, with the Rhode Island Board of Elections.
This could shape up as interesting race since one of the other prospective candidates, lawyer and state Senator Paul V. Jabour, is a close ally of former City Council president John J. Lombardi -- one of David Cicilline's most vocal critics on the Providence council. Robert Craven of Saunderstown is also considered a possible Democratic candidate for AG, and it's conceivable that others may emerge.
While Cicilline is backing Hillary Clinton, Fernandez and his wife, Emily Maranjian, a white-collar prosecutor in AG Patrick Lynch's office, were Harvard Law School classmates with Barack Obama, and they have been among the leaders of Obama's Rhode Island campaign. Fernandez and Maranjian attended Brown University as undergrads.
Fernandez does not currently have much statewide name-recognition, but he has been active in the Cicilline administration, serving on the task force that formed the mayor's ethics recommendations, for example, and in the community, serving on the board of Trinity Rep and as a director of Crossroads Rhode Island.
Meanwhile, Lynch, as we know, is term-limited as AG, and he shows every sign of being part of a busy Democratic field for governor.