Providence mayor says he supports Raimondo; gives no hint about plans after primary loss

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CENTRAL FALLS, Rhode Island — Providence Mayor Angel Taveras didn't give any hints Wednesday about what's next for him after his loss in last week's Democratic gubernatorial primary, saying only he plans to focus on his family and get some rest.

Speaking to reporters after an event in Central Falls, he said he's getting behind the Democratic nominee, Treasurer Gina Raimondo, who loudly criticized his stewardship of the city in the final weeks of the campaign. Taveras had pledged on the campaign trail to support whoever won and said Wednesday he planned to keep his word.

He would not say what kind of support he expected to lend Raimondo, suggesting it was up to her and that an announcement about it could come soon. Her campaign didn't immediately respond to a message left for comment.

Reflecting on the race, the one-term mayor declined to blame Clay Pell, the other candidate in the primary, for his defeat.

"This is America. Anyone and everyone has a right to run," he said.

In a lighter moment, Taveras noted he had been the beneficiary during college of a Pell grant — named for Pell's late grandfather, former U.S. Sen. Claiborne Pell — and joked that he hadn't been able to admit it during the race.

Raimondo got 42 percent of the vote to Taveras' 29 percent and newcomer Pell's 27 percent. Unions split their support in the primary. The state's largest public-employee union, Council 94, backed the mayor, while the two teachers' unions supported Pell.

Asked if he would change anything about his campaign if he could do it over, the mayor said, "I'm focused on the future, not the past."

Taveras, an attorney who is a former Housing Court judge, said he planned to take some time with his family. He and his wife are expecting their second child in December.

Raimondo now faces Republican Allan Fung, the mayor of Cranston, in the Nov. 4 general election. Fung's rival for the GOP nod, businessman Ken Block, said this week it's too soon to talk about endorsing Fung, though he had said previously he would support the mayor if he lost.

Block told WPRI-TV the campaign was "vicious and ugly" and that he's "still healing from the race."

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