By Ted Nesi
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Former Rhode Island Auditor General Ernest Almonte will run for governor as a Democrat in 2014, he announced Monday morning after filing a notice of organization with the Board of Elections.
“The reason why I did that is in order to do fundraising you have to file this form,” Almonte, 56, told WPRI.com. “A lot of people do exploratory committees – I’m not that way. This is what I’m doing.”
Almonte, a North Scituate resident who’s never run for public office before, said he has enlisted a treasurer and is in discussions with potential campaign managers. He said he will make a formal announcement at a later date.
“I am running because I can make a positive change for this state,” Almonte said. “I will exercise leadership by giving character, competition and compassion, and I will create an infrastructure for success and an infrastructure for opportunity for everyone in this state.”
Almonte has been a fixture on the fiscal crisis circuit over the past year, serving on panels in Providence and Pawtucket as well as the Chafee-Raimondo pension advisory group last year. “I’m tired of advising people,” he said Monday. “I want to sit in the seat and implement change.”
With more than two years to go before the November 2014 election, it’s unclear how the field of candidates will shake out. Independent Gov. Lincoln Chafee has signaled he plans to run for a second term, and General Treasurer Gina Raimondo is widely expected to jump in as a Democrat.
Providence Mayor Angel Taveras and former Attorney General Patrick Lynch are also being discussed as potential Democratic nominees. Republican John Robitaille, who came in a close second in the 2010 gubernatorial race, has said in the past he may run again in 2014.
Raimondo has a big financial advantage over the other potential candidates at this point, with $617,922 in her campaign war chest as of March 31. She was followed by Lynch, with $335,711 on hand; Chafee, with $208,566; Taveras, with $154,857; and Robitaille, with $3,455.
Almonte was appointed auditor general in November 1994 by the Joint Committee on Legislative Services, which was controlled at the time by former House Speaker John Harwood of Pawtucket.
Almonte held the auditor general’s job for 15 years, stepping down in January 2010 to join the accounting firm DiSanto, Priest & Co. Last year he formed his own firm, Almonte Group LLC, where his title is “Chief Visionary Officer and CEO.” He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Bryant University.
Tim White contributed to this report.
(photo: John Villella/WPRI)