(WHJJ-AM) Former Providence Mayor Buddy Cianci announced he's getting back into politics minutes before Wednesday's 4pm state filing deadline. Cianci is vying for a third reign at his former job. The felon mayor turned talk host says he's made the decision after "much soul-searching and reflection."
Cianci was elected six times and served a combined 21 years, making him the city's longest serving mayor. He was twice forced to resign in disgrace, the first time in 1984 after making a plea deal to charges of assaulting a man he believed was having an affair with his estranged wife, and in 2002, when he was sent to prison for racketeering conspiracy.
Cianci is running as an independent, as he did in his 1990's campaigns. In 1974, he became the first Republican to be elected mayor in over 30 years.
The former mayor enters a race with 9 other candidates, including six Democrats, two other Independents, and one Republican. NewsRadio 920 morning show host Ron St. Pierre who worked with Cianci for several years commented, "Buddy enters a crowded field, which is exactly the kind of race he thrives on. He hits the ground running, thanks to the constant exposure from his radio and TV jobs while others in the race are just launching their attempts to define themselves to potential voters."
Cianci's candidacy is sure to draw national attention and criticism. Opponent Brett Smiley, who is running for mayor as a Democrat says "Providence cannot afford to return to the corrupt politics of the past, and that is what Buddy Cianci's candidacy represents."
St. Pierre believes that the widespread attention could cast the city in a negative light. "He brings a bigger than life character to the race that will certainly grab the national spotlight but the big question is how Providence and Rhode Island will be perceived under that microscope. Do we really want the Wall Street Journal and other media outlets rehashing tales of corruption as we try to reshape our image and get out of the fiscal doldrums?"
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