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Carcieri tells people he’s not running for Senate in 2012

June 1, 2011

Former Republican governor Don Carcieri has been telling people he will not be a candidate next year for the Senate seat held by Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse, WRNI has learned.

Carcieri has some key assets that he could bring to a GOP primary, including name recognition and considerable wealth. But some observers have considered a Senate run unlikely, due to Carcieri’s age (68) and a desire to spend more time after two gubernatorial terms with his extended family.

Calls to Carcieri’s Saunderstown home went unanswered today. The former governor has told associates of his decision not to run in next year’s Senate race, WRNI has learned. Some prominent Republicans declined comment when asked about Carcieri’s intentions.

“It wouldn’t surprise me,” state GOP chairman Ken McKay, a former chief of staff for Carcieri, says of a decision not to run by the former governor. “I haven’t seen him doing the things I think he would be doing if he was running.” (McKay, however, did not rule out the possibility of a late entry to the race by Carcieri.)

One of the signs auguring against a Senate race by Carcieri was how his longtime finance director, Anthony Bucci, recently signed on with Brendan Doherty’s congressional run. 

The only announced Republican in the Senate race, Barry Hinckley, doesn’t think Carcieri plans to jump into the race.

“In my opinion any serious challenger needs to get going now  to A: attract the conservative talent in RI to your team and B: to start fund raising to counter the serious money that the Dems are funneling into Whitehouse,” Hinckley says, via e-mail. “Carcieri is the outlier at this point in time and 9 out of 10 people I talk to, including those who should know, and the opinion is, he isn’t running.”

Hinckley says he’s not aware of any other Republicans who are prepared to enter the Senate race.

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