Kobi Dennis to launch campaign for Providence mayor

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Providence, you’ve got a mayor’s race.

Community advocate Kobi Dennis is set to launch his bid to unseat incumbent Mayor Jorge Elorza Sunday afternoon on Facebook Live. He filed a notice of organization with the R.I. Board of Elections Friday afternoon, allowing him to begin fundraising.

The 46-year-old River Avenue resident and founder of Unified Solutions is the first candidate to formally announce plans to challenge Elorza next year. He is a registered Democrat.

Elorza, a Democrat in his first term, has already said he plans to seek re-election next year. No incumbent mayor has been defeated since 1974, when Democrat Joe Doorley lost to Republican Vincent A. “Buddy” Cianci Jr.

Dennis will start off with a significant fundraising disadvantage, as Elorza had $484,000 in his campaign account as of June 30, according to a filing with the Board of Elections. According to his Facebook page, Dennis will hold a fundraiser Oct. 25.

Dennis grew up on the South Side and served in the Navy between 1989 and 1993, according to a 2011 profile published by Providence Monthly. He is the founder of Project Night Vision, a nonprofit after-school program designed to support teenagers between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. He has since founded Unified Solutions, a collaboration of community organizations that has a partnership with Roger Williams University.

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Dan McGowan ( dmcgowan@wpri.com ) covers politics, education and the city of Providence for WPRI.com. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter:@danmcgowan

An earlier version of this story reported Kobi Dennis’s age incorrectly; he is 46, not 42.