in the running

Providence’s Gay Mayor David Cicilline Wants Patrick Kennedy’s U.S. House Seat. He’s In For a Democratic Fight

David Cicilline is an openly gay man. He is a Democrat. And he is the mayor of Providence, elected in 2002 and re-elected four years later. And if all things go accordingly, he’ll assume the U.S. House seat being vacated by Ted Kennedy’s son Patrick, who’s held the seat since 1994, and opted not to run for re-election. Adorably, and because this is how things are done now, he announced his candidacy on Facebook. Now the only question remains: Will Patrick Kennedy “like” David’s post?

Among the stenches surrounding Cicilline — and what politico doesn’t have a few? — is the incarceration of his brother John, sent to prison in 2008 (and denied a house arrest release) and disbarred after pleading guilty on charges of helping clients set up drug deals so they could alert authorities and collect lighter sentences. David and John’s father was also an attorney, and in the 1970s and 80s defended well-known Mafia clients. David is also an attorney.

While newly minted Sen. Scott Brown surprised the nation by scoring the Senate seat once held by Rep. Patrick Kennedy’s father, many assume Patrick’s opening will, indeed, go to a Democrat. It’s which one that’s the real debate; the Providence mayor faces off against Bill Lynch, a former party chairman, as well as possible campaigns from fellow Democrats A. Ralph Mollis, the secretary of state, and Rep. Jon Brien, a conservative Democrat. Former Congressman Robert Weygand is “also seriously considering a run,” relays the AP, as is State Rep. Edwin Pacheco.

An endorsement from Rep. Kennedy will go far, and at the very least narrow the campaign to just two front-running Democrats. Patrick has yet to voice his support for any one candidate, though you can imagine all the phone calls he’s receiving from the candidates hoping to score his approval.

If Cicilline were to win, of course, the House would see a fourth gay lawmaker join the group, sitting alongside Reps. Jared Polis, Barney Frank, and Tammy Baldwin. And most likely, he’d become the newest member of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus.