The race for Rhode Island governor this year is on track to become one of the most expensive in Rhode Island history.
The five major candidates have already raised more than their counterparts did in the entire 2010 election cycle, according to numbers the campaigns filed with the Board of Elections this week. The Nov. 4 election is still 6 months away.
This year's Democratic field includes General Treasurer Gina Raimondo, Providence Mayor Angel Taveras and Clay Pell, grandson of the late Sen. Claiborne Pell. The Republican candidates are Cranston Mayor Allan Fung and Moderate Party founder Ken Block. The primary is Sept. 9.
The candidates are vying to replace Democratic Gov. Lincoln Chafee, who was elected in 2010 as an independent and has decided not to seek a second term.
The five campaigns have raised $9.8 million so far for the 2014 race, which includes the period starting Jan. 1, 2011, and through the first quarter of this year, which ended March 31. That compares with $9.1 million raised for the 2010 election cycle by the five major candidates. Those campaigns spent $9.9 million during the 2010 cycle.
The most expensive governor's race in Rhode Island history was in 2002, when the candidates collectively spent more than $10 million. The candidates that year included Democrats Myrth York and Sheldon Whitehouse, and Republican Don Carcieri, who ultimately won. An exact number raised and spent during that campaign is not available from the Board of Elections, which does not maintain digital records before Jan. 1, 2002.
The candidates' campaigns have spent $2.4 million so far for the 2014 cycle.
The Democrats this year have a huge money edge over the Republicans.
Raimondo has raised about $4 million for the race and has spent nearly $1 million. She had $3.3 million cash on hand as of March 31. Pell has raised $2.3 million, including about a $2.1 million loan to himself, and had $2 million cash on hand at the end of the quarter. Taveras has raised $2.1 million and had $1.4 million on hand.
On the Republican side, Block has raised $800,000, including a $620,000 loan to himself. He starts the second quarter with $650,000 in his campaign account. Fung has raised $620,000 and had just under $450,000 in his account as of March 31.