Rhode Island Dem candidate faces ‘carpetbagger,’ ‘opportunist’ labels in growing competitive House race

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The Democratic candidate for Rhode Island’s 2nd Congressional District has been facing questions about being a “carpetbagger” and “political opportunist” after he dropped out of running for governor earlier this year to run in a congressional district where he wasn’t living. 

Rhode Island General Treasurer Seth Magaziner ditched his gubernatorial aspirations for the seat being vacated by Rhode Island Democrat Rep. Jim Langevin. Langevin announced in January that he would be retiring from office, opening up the seat he’s held for 11 terms.

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Rep. Jim Langevin at the New England Institute of Technology in Warwick, Rhode Island, on Nov. 1, 2021. 
(David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Langevin’s retirement creates the first open congressional race in Rhode Island since 2010. Magaziner announced he would be running to take Langevin’s seat a week after the retirement announcement, abandoning his run for governor.

“We cannot take the risk that a Republican represent Rhode Island in the U.S. Congress, not in this cycle, not in this of all years,” Magaziner told local reporters after dropping out of the governor’s race.

The move has drawn criticism by local press, with television reporters asking Magaziner in a March interview “why people should think differently” after “many” would walk away from his House announcement “thinking you’re a political opportunist who just wants any seat you think you have a best shot at winning.”

“Well, my guiding principle throughout my time in service has been how can I best deliver positive results for Rhode Islanders,” Magaziner responded. “And that’s why I’m running for Congress.”

Magaziner has also fielded “carpetbagger” criticism, including from the local NBC outlet, as it has been reported that he does not actually live in the congressional district he’s running in.

The Rhode Island treasurer was asked in a late March interview when he was planning to move to the congressional district, to which Magaziner said he and his family were “actively looking now” while citing the “difficult housing market.”

“Not for a seller,” the WPRI reporter retorted, to which Magaziner responded, “Well, for a buyer, it is.”

“It’s not entirely in our control what the timing is,” Magaziner claimed about selling his house to move to the congressional district he’s running in. “But we are committed to doing it.”

“Again, I’ve lived in the district before, I’ve served the district and represented the district as state treasurer for seven years, and I think people in the 2nd District know that I can deliver results and be a force,” the treasurer continued before being asked if he had picked “a town.”

“We’re looking at a few different towns, yeah,” Magaziner responded.

Additionally, local press revealed in 2019 via WikiLeaks that the Democrat candidate’s father, former Clinton adviser and “godfather of Clintonomics” Ira Magaziner, had ties to the late disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein.

The elder Magaziner also helped bankroll his son’s general treasurer campaign, soliciting donations from powerful Clinton allies, including John Podesta, who was the chairman for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s failed 2016 presidential campaign.

The younger Magaziner’s office blocked the outlet GoLocalProv after it reported on his dad’s name and email appearing in the deceased sex criminal’s infamous “black book.”

Jeffrey Epstein March 28, 2017
(New York State Sex Offender Registry via AP, File)

Magaziner’s spokesperson told GoLocalProv in August 2019 that the candidate’s father and “Epstein had no relationship whatsoever other than meeting in passing while on the same trips with President Clinton a few times in the early 2000s, prior to when Epstein’s terrible actions became known.”

A year later in February 2020, Magaziner claimed to have no knowledge of his office icing out the local outlet and pointed the reporter to his “communications officer.”

“I really don’t know anything about this,” the treasurer said. “Talk to my communications officer.”

The potential “carpetbagger” and “political opportunist” labels and apparent Epstein connection could be a detriment to Magaziner as he looks to secure a seat in Congress.

Chairman Jim Langevin gives opening remarks at a hearing of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Cyber, Innovative Technologies, and Information System on Capitol Hill on May 14, 2021.
(Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Political analysts are putting the race for Rhode Island’s 2nd District as leaning Democratic, meaning Magaziner would have a competitive race with an advantage toward him.

However, leaning Democratic is not the same as being safely blue or even likely blue – Republicans have a chance to flip the seat red if they play their cards right.

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Former Cranston, Rhode Island, Mayor Allen Fung launched his campaign to take on Magaziner for the congressional seat. Fung had previously run against now-Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo for the Ocean State governorship.

Magaziner’s campaign did not respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment.

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