Trillo to run for governor as independent

Rep. Joe Trillo

Former Republican state Rep. Joe Trillo said Tuesday that he will run for governor of Rhode Island as an independent.

“To win with my message in Rhode Island, I will need Democratic support, a lot of independent support, and Republicans. I feel this can only be accomplished by shedding party politics and running as an independent,” he announced on the WPRO Matt Allen talk show Tuesday afternoon.

Trillo’s defection from the Republican party after more than 20 years leaves two candidates vying for the nomination from the G.O.P.

NBC 10 News political analyst Wendy Schiller said the departure of Trillo, who was the honorary chair of the Trump for President campaign in Rhode Island, will allow the remaining candidates to edge away from the controversial president.

“I think Fung can pivot a little bit away from Trump if Patricia Morgan pivots away from Trump,” Schiller said.

Trillo was a Republican state representative for 15 years. He believes the Trump philosophy will win him Republican votes, and those of Democrats who are rejecting progressive principles.

“I’m going to look for radical change that everybody’s afraid to talk about,” he said. “I’m talking about reforming schools. I’m talking about making major changes in our police department, stop tying the hands of police and telling them what they can and cannot do.”

He will not reveal if the president will come to campaign with him, but did note a surrogate, Pastor Mark Burns, will come to support the effort.

Trillo’s candidacy will mean a third party in the race, which is good for Democrat Gov. Gina Raimondo, if she wins her party’s nomination.

“I do think it hurts Alan Fung or Patricia Morgan to have Trillo out there siphoning off dedicated Republican voters who they need to beat Gina Raimondo,” Schiller said.

Just to add to the calculations, the Moderate Party told NBC 10 it plans on putting up a candidate, which might complicate Raimondo’s campaign, according to Schiller.

“I think it depends all on what the Moderate party candidate focusses on,” she said. “If they focus on taxes or good government, Gina has some problems with a Moderate Party candidate in the race. “

Progressive Democrats believe Raimondo needs a challenge from the left, and could conceivably run a fifth candidate.

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