Rhode Island official launches bid to become first Puerto Rican-born governor in US

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Rhode Island Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea (D) announced Sunday she is running for governor, in a bid to become the first Puerto Rican-born governor of a U.S. state.

Gorbea launched her gubernatorial campaign with a video in which she talks about similarities between the Ocean State and Puerto Rico.

“My love affair with Rhode Island started right after I arrived,” Gorbea says in the video. “Like my native Puerto Rico, Rhode Island is a small place where people are close and distances aren’t.”

Gorbea could face a crowded field of candidates in the Democratic primary, as the state’s top politicians line up to challenge Gov. Daniel McKee (D), the previous lieutenant governor who took the reins after former Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) was sworn in as Commerce secretary by President Biden.

McKee is expected to run but has yet to announce, and General Treasurer Seth Magaziner is also seen as a likely candidate.

And while Gorbea could become the first Puerto Rican-born governor of a U.S. state — the island has been a U.S. possession since 1898 and its inhabitants gained U.S. citizenship in 1917 — she might not be the only Hispanic in the gubernatorial primary.

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza’s parents immigrated to Rhode Island from Guatemala in 1975, about a year before he was born.

Gorbea and Elorza are both term limited in their current posts.

Magaziner has a campaign account containing nearly $1.3 million, followed by Elorza with $955,000, Gorbea at $546,000 and McKee with $450,000, according to the Rhode Island Board of Elections.

Tags Gina Raimondo Governor gubernatorial candidate Hispanic Joe Biden Latina Rhode Island

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