PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Chris Wall, a Democratic candidate running an aggressive primary campaign for Rhode Island Senate, is getting some deep-pocketed help from the National Association of Realtors.
The Realtors will spend $75,200 on an independent expenditure to support Wall in his effort to defeat first-term Democrat Gayle Goldin for the party’s nomination in Senate District 3, according to a filing last week with the R.I. Board of Elections.
A spokeswoman for the Realtors confirmed that Wall was recommended to the national group by its Rhode Island branch, but refused to discuss how the money will be spent. Independent expenditure groups are prohibited from coordinating with candidates.
Wall is a former WJAR-TV reporter who now works as a broker with Residential Properties, the East Side real-estate firm. Goldin is strategic initiative officer for the nonprofit Women’s Fund of Rhode Island. The winner of the primary will not face opposition in November.
Wall told WPRI.com he was not aware the group planned to spend money on the race, but “with their record of advocating on behalf of middle class taxpayers, homeowners, renters, affordable housing and homelessness issues and green construction has chosen to support my candidacy, I would welcome their support in my fight for change and reform and restoring hope and opportunity for all Rhode Islanders.”
Goldin has carved out a reputation as a liberal lawmaker in the upper chamber, successfully championing the creation of a new temporary-disability insurance program for caregivers. But she’s been dogged by criticism that her predecessor, Rhoda Perry, maneuvered to hand off the Senate seat to her when Perry retired in 2012.
Goldin defeated Maryellen Butke, her 2012 Democratic primary opponent, with 57% of the vote. She was unopposed in the general election that year.
As of Aug. 11, Wall had $18,943 in his campaign account while Goldin had $14,814, according to Board of Elections filings.
The Senate primary on Sept. 9 could be influenced by the hard-fought gubernatorial race at the top of the ticket: Goldin is a longtime supporter of Angel Taveras, while Wall is backing Gina Raimondo. The two candidates for governor are fighting hard for votes on the heavily Democratic East Side.