Democratic U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse has raised a sizeable sum for his campaign account as he prepares to run for re-election next year, his campaign said Wednesday.
The campaign said it raised more than $1 million in the first quarter, bringing its total cash on hand to more than $1.6 million.
The first-term senator spent about $6.4 million in 2006 to defeat incumbent Republican Sen. Lincoln Chafee.
Whitehouse’s potential Republican challengers include former Gov. Don Carcieri and Warwick Mayor Scott Scott Avedisian. Avedisian said Wednesday he’s still deciding whether to run considering that it’s likely to be a contested primary with multiple candidates.
“It’s going to be a divisive Republican primary, as far as I can tell. I really need to look at whether or not I want to spend the next year raising money for a divisive and costly process,” Avedisian said. “It’s going to be very expensive to have that kind of a battle.”
He said he planned to meet soon with the party’s new state chairman, Ken McKay, to discuss a possible run.
The former CEO of Hasbro Inc., Alan Hassenfeld, has also not ruled out a run. Hassenfeld is an independent who has donated to the state’s Moderate Party. On Wednesday, he took a jab at Whitehouse, whom he has in the past called a friend, for making his announcement as a government shutdown looms.
“With all that is going on, it is criminal that they are fundraising instead of being 100 percent focused on keeping the government running,” he said through a spokeswoman. “All they do is raise money, they don’t govern anymore.”