State Rep. Karen MacBeth (R-Cumberland) said Tuesday that she believes a rising tide of discontent among Rhode Island voters will boost her campaign against First District Congressman David Cicilline.
"The people of this state over the last couple years have seen that politicians aren't representing them, and I've seen a ground-swelling of people across the state, standing up," MacBeth said. She pointed to public upset over 38 Studios, recently approved tolls on big trucks, and the troubled rollout last week of the state's new tourism campaign.
"People are now standing up," MacBeth said, during an interview with RIPR in the House Republican office at the Statehouse. "It used to be, 'I'm going to elect my officials and I'm going to trust them.' I tried building that trust back with that people. I'm gonna continue to try to do that for all of Rhode Island. But they now want all their elected officials held accountable to that, and I think this is an election season that we're gonna see that." Listen to a Q+A with Congressional candidate Karen MacBeth.
Cicilline, who served two terms as mayor of Providence, first won election to Congress when Patrick J. Kennedy decided not to seek re-election in 2010. While a series of opponents have faulted Cicilline for fiscal issues in Providence, the Democrat beat former State Police Colonel Brendan Doherty by a larger-than-expected 12-point margin in 2012, and he has not faced a tight challenge since then.
MacBeth is one of two Republicans who will square off in a primary. Russell Taub is the other.
MacBeth said Chip Englander, who managed Rand Paul's presidential campaign, and was a senior adviser to Marco Rubio, is serving as her chief strategic analyst. She declined to outline her additional plans for staff and to specify how much she thinks she needs to raise to run a competitive campaign.
MacBeth first won election to the House of Representatives in 2008, and served as a Democrat until switching her affiliation to Republican last week. She works as an elementary school principal in Woonsocket.
Asked for comment on MacBeth's campaign, Cicilline spokesman Richard Luchette said, "Congressman Cicilline is in Moscow and then traveling to Eastern Europe as part of a bipartisan delegation of the House Foreign Affairs Committee meeting with foreign ministry and defense officials on the need for greater military cooperation in the multi-national effort to defeat ISIS.”
“There are now two candidates for the Republican nomination in Rhode Island's First District, Luchette added. "Once Republicans have settled on a nominee, there will be plenty of time to engage in a substantive debate on the critical issues facing our country.”