Portuguese-American Jessica De la Cruz drops out of Rhode Island congressional race

BURRILLVILLE, RI (AP) — Republican Rhode Island State Senator Jessica de la Cruz has ended her candidacy for Congress about a month after her campaign officially launched.

“While I have been encouraged by the strong grassroots support my campaign has received, right now the best place for me to fight for the Rhode Islanders is in the State Senate,” she said. in a statement Thursday evening.

De la Cruz, the daughter of immigrants from the Azores and Madeira, said many of her supporters have called on her to remain in the state legislature and continue to fight for causes such as “the suspension of the gas tax, parental rights in education and our constitutional liberties.”

She had long considered running to succeed Democratic U.S. Representative Jim Langevin in Congress, who announced Jan. 18 that he would not run after representing the district covering western Rhode Island since 2001. De la Cruz is officially entered the race in March. 16.

De la Cruz, 40, was first elected to the senatorial district representing Burrillville, Glocester and North Smithfield in November 2018.

There are now two Republicans left in the race – former Cranston mayor and two-time gubernatorial candidate Allan Fung and former state Rep. Robert Lancia. De la Cruz said she now approves of Fung.

Democrats who remain in the race include State Treasurer Seth Magaziner; Joy Fox, a former assistant to Langevin; Sarah Morgenthau, Biden administration official; Omar Bah, executive director of the Refugee Dream Center in Providence; and former political strategist Michael Neary.

De la Cruz is the second Portuguese-American to drop out of the race

Former state Rep. Ed Pacheco ended his campaign for Congress on March 22, saying it had become too difficult to raise funds.

Edwin Pacheco

“I have decided to suspend my campaign for Congress,” the Democrat said in a statement. “Given the amount of resources needed to run a competitive campaign, I have concluded that fundraising in this election cycle will be extremely difficult.”

His experience points to the need for campaign finance reform, he said.

Pacheco, former chairman of the Rhode Island Democratic Party, announced in January that he was running for the seat vacated by retired Democratic U.S. Representative Jim Langevin.

He will continue to work to ensure the seat remains in the hands of Democrats.

“Fortunately, we have several talented candidates seeking the Democratic nomination,” he said. “I look forward to continuing to advocate for the issues that motivated me to consider running for Congress in the first place.”

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