NewsRadio 920 WHJJ and the Associated Press

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The ex-chairman of the Rhode Island Republican Party has jumped into the race against Democratic U.S. Sen. Jack Reed.

Mark Zaccaria is a late entrant. Warwick city employee Raymond McKay had announced his candidacy but was stymied by a local ordinance prohibiting city employees from running for office.

Zaccaria has twice run for Congress in the 2nd District held by Rep. Jim Langevin and chaired the party from 2011 to 2013. He's a former member of the North Kingstown Town Council.

He told The Providence Journal he's not running "just because I happen to have a pulse." He says he's doing so to offer a viable alternative to Reed.

Reed has been in the Senate since 1997. He won his last re-election campaign handily.

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