Raimondo re-election fund tops $3 million, far outpacing GOP rivals

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo continues to hold an enormous financial advantage over her announced Republican rivals as she prepares to run for re-election next year.

The first-term Democrat raised about $502,000 in campaign contributions during the three-month period ended Sept. 30, according to a report filed late Tuesday night with the R.I. Board of Elections. The latest round of donations brought her campaign’s cash on hand to nearly $3.1 million, an extraordinary amount for Rhode Island.

The governor spent plenty of campaign money, too, shelling out almost $88,000 during the quarter on airfare, staff, hotel rooms, food, office supplies and more. She spent $16,000 with a Washington firm called Rising Tide Interactive for advertising expenses.

On the Republican side, Cranston Mayor Allan Fung has the financial edge over House Minority Leader Patricia Morgan as both begin their campaigns for the GOP gubernatorial nomination.

Fung, who lost to Raimondo as the party’s nominee in 2014, took in about $94,000 in donations during the summer quarter. He spent nearly half the money he took in, with $26,000 going to Public Opinion Strategies, a GOP polling firm, and $12,000 going to Convergence Media, a consulting firm working on his campaign. Fung had about $230,000 cash on hand as of Sept. 30.

“The outpouring of support we’ve seen since last Tuesday has been incredible – supporters from all across the state have come out in droves to support the campaign,” Fung’s team wrote in an email to supporters Tuesday.

Morgan took in about $69,000 in donations during the quarter, and also loaned her campaign $26,650 of her own money. (Fung loaned his campaign a nearly identical amount back in June.) After expenses – including $10,000 to National Research Inc. for a poll – Morgan was left with about $91,000 cash on hand as of Sept. 30.

“The support from hardworking Rhode Islanders for my campaign has been both humbling and encouraging,” Morgan said in a statement Tuesday. “With their confidence, we’re going to build a winning team that has the resources to become the Republican nominee and take on Governor Raimondo’s insider-funded campaign so that Rhode Islanders have the brighter future they deserve.”

Two other Republicans, former Rep. Joe Trillo and businessman Giovanni Feroce, are also considering running for governor. Trillo had about $131,000 on hand as of Sept. 30 – more than Morgan – after raising about $32,000 and loaning his campaign $100,000 during the quarter. Feroce does not have an active campaign account.

Here’s a quick overview of the financial picture in other major races.

Lieutenant Governor: State Rep. Aaron Regunberg, who announced last week he will challenge incumbent Dan McKee in next year’s Democratic primary, starts out the race with a sizable financial edge.

Regunberg had roughly $214,000 on hand as of Sept. 30, after raising nearly $65,000 during the summer quarter. “We’re off to a strong start, and I feel confident that my campaign will have the resources to organize in every city and town,” he said Monday. McKee, who will announce next week whether he is seeking re-election, had about $74,000 on hand Sept. 30 after raising about $15,000.

Attorney General: Incumbent Democrat Peter Kilmartin is term-limited and cannot seek re-election in 2018. (He raised no money during the quarter and has $23,000 on hand.) Only one candidate has launched a campaign to succeed him so far: former U.S. Attorney Peter Neronha, a Democrat, who had not yet started fundraising as of Sept. 30.

Secretary of State: Incumbent Democrat Nellie Gorbea has drawn no announced challengers so far. She had about $105,000 on hand as of Sept. 30 after raising about $32,000 during the quarter.

General Treasurer: Incumbent Democrat Seth Magaziner has drawn no announced challengers so far. He had about $365,000 on hand as of Sept. 30 after raising about $52,000 during the quarter.

General Assembly: Democratic House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello took in about $23,000 during the quarter, finishing with about $309,000 in his account on Sept. 30. Democratic Senate President Dominick Ruggerio took in about $40,000 during the quarter, finishing with almost $150,000 in his account on Sept. 30.

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