John Robitaille, the Republican who narrowly lost the race for governor last year, is almost certain to run again in 2014.
“Unless something changes in terms of my life, the state, I’d say that there is a high probability I will run for governor again,” Robitaille said during a sit-down interview with WBRU. “That’s where my heart is, that’s where my passion is.”
He cautioned that four years is “an eternity” in politics, but appeared set for a rematch with Governor Chafee, to whom he lost by less than 3%, according to the Rhode Island Board of Elections.
Robitaille also said that a 2012 run against Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse was “not the highest of my priorities” at the moment.
“I have thought about it and continue to think about [running against Sen. Whitehouse]… but my goal really is, I’m running for governor again.”
He did not rule out a possible Senate race entirely, but said several factors made such a move unappealing, including President Obama’s presence on the ballot in 2012, which could boost Democratic turnout in true-blue Rhode Island.
A Senate run would require more money than a bid for governor. Robitaille said that as someone who is not independently wealthy, he would have difficulty raising the money necessary to finance a competitive campaign. With many competitive Senate races in 2012, he doubts that national Republicans would devote much time or energy to Rhode Island.
For much of the gubernatorial race last year, Robitaille trailed at third in the polls, behind Chafee and Democrat Frank Caprio. However, after Caprio said the president could “really shove it” a week before Election Day, his support cratered, and Robitaille nearly pulled off an upset win. At various points on Election Night he actually led in the vote tally, and wound up losing by 8,660 votes, according to the official count.