Lt. Gov. McKee to reveal plans for his ‘political future’ next month

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Is Lt. Gov. Dan McKee eyeing a new job?

The first-term Democrat isn’t saying yet, but his campaign spokesman Michael Trainor confirmed Monday the lieutenant governor “will announce plans for his political future” at a news conference on Nov. 7 at 10 a.m.

The announcement comes amid growing speculation among State House observers that McKee might challenge incumbent Democrat Gina Raimondo in next year’s primary for governor. Trainor declined to comment on that possibility or provide any further details.

McKee is already facing a challenge if he tries to win a second term in the state’s No. 2 office, with progressive state Rep. Aaron Regunberg, D-Providence, all but certain to run against him in the Democratic primary for lieutenant governor next year.

McKee, 65, served as mayor of Cumberland for all but two years between 2000 and 2014. A graduate of Assumption College and Harvard’s Kennedy School, he owns a family fuel-oil business. He is perhaps best-known for his vocal support for charter schools, which has frequently put him at odds with some in his party. He has also been a frequent critic of National Grid during his time as lieutenant governor.

Raimondo has said she plans to seek a second term in 2018, though she has not formally kicked off her campaign. Her predecessor, independent-turned-Democrat Lincoln Chafee, has already confirmed he may challenge her in next year’s primary. Multiple Republicans are also eyeing the seat.

Ted Nesi (tnesi@wpri.com) covers politics and the economy for WPRI.com. He writes Nesi’s Notes on Saturdays and hosts Executive Suite. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook