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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Former Attorney General Patrick Lynch waded back into Rhode Island politics on Thursday, endorsing fellow Pawtucket native Gabe Amo in the crowded congressional primary to replace David Cicilline.
Lynch — whose brother Bill ran for the same seat in 2010, and who toyed with running himself this year — said he has known Amo since the latter was a young volunteer on his campaigns, and argued Amo has demonstrated a commitment to public service.
“Since I left office, I rarely get involved in politics too vocally, but the stakes are too high in this race,” Lynch said in a statement. “We need to elect Gabe, so that Rhode Island can have an effective and experienced leader in Congress.”
Amo described Lynch as “a mentor,” calling the former attorney general “a pathbreaking leader on so many fights that I want to take on for Rhode Islanders in Congress.” He said they share a commitment to prioritizing issues such as the environment, housing, gay rights and gun control.
“I’m honored to receive his endorsement and I look forward to the opportunity to build upon his legacy of service from day one,” Amo said.
Amo is one of more than a dozen candidates who have announced plans to seek the Democratic nomination in the 1st District — all of whom are struggling to garner voters’ attention in the low-profile special election. The primary is Sept. 5.
While Amo has never sought elected office before, he has high-level political connections from his stints as a White House staffer in the Biden and Obama administrations, as well as his time working for then-Gov. Gina Raimondo and U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse. Newport Mayor Xay Khamsyvoravong has also endorsed him.
A spokesperson said Amo’s campaign has raised over $275,000 since April 1, the largest amount reported to 12 News by any 1st District candidate so far. However, state Sen. Sandra Cano’s campaign said she expects to have $350,000 by June 30.
Lynch’s is the latest in a growing number of endorsements being handed out in the 1st District by a variety of individuals and groups.
Earlier this week, the advocacy group Climate Action Rhode Island became the latest progressive organization to endorse former state Rep. Aaron Regunberg for the 1st District seat. Its co-chair, Denise Taliaferro, argued that Regunberg’s election to Congress “will meaningfully improve our chances of taking action” on the issue.
But one of the nine other candidates who unsuccessfully sought Climate Action’s endorsement — former state official Nick Autiello — criticized the decision. He argued the group overlooked his experiences advising public- and private-sector officials on climate change.
“Aaron Regunberg lacked the experience and background to even take notes in the high-level meetings I’ve led domestically and abroad,” Autiello said in a statement. “Our practical experiences leading on this issue are night and day.”
Autiello and another 1st District candidate, Jamestown businessman Don Carlson, were both endorsed last week by LGBTQ+ Victory Fund, a national group that seeks to elect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender candidates.
Lt. Gov. Sabina Matos has so far garnered the support of three organizations that support Latino candidates — Congressional Hispanic Caucus BOLD PAC, the Latino Victory Fund and PODER PAC — over her rivals in the race.
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