- Associated Press - Thursday, October 16, 2014

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney said Thursday he raised money for Republican gubernatorial hopeful Allan Fung in Rhode Island because the mayor has proven himself leading Cranston.

The 2012 GOP presidential nominee appeared at a fundraiser for Fung at the Providence Biltmore Hotel.

Guests could attend a VIP reception and luncheon for $1,000 or just the luncheon for $250. A Fung spokesman estimated it raised more than $50,000.

Fung was endorsed by Romney during the Republican primary in which the mayor defeated businessman Ken Block. Fung faces Democrat Gina Raimondo in the Nov. 4 election. Raimondo has been endorsed by President Barack Obama.

Romney said that as governor, Fung will help people get better jobs, improve the schools and make the state more attractive to businesses.

“I’m pleased to endorse someone who’s proved himself as the mayor and is about to prove himself as the governor,” Romney said.

Romney said endorsements “don’t make a big difference,” but he was happy to help bring like-minded individuals together for a fundraiser. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, head of the Republican Governors Association, has also campaigned for Fung and is expected to return to Rhode Island.

Peter Baptista, who is directing Rhode Island Democrats’ coordinated campaign, criticized Fung’s decision to align himself with Romney and Christie, who Baptista says favor policies that take care of corporations and the wealthy over the middle class.

“He’s shown whose side he’s on,” Baptista said in a statement.

Fung said Romney’s support is “humbling.”

“I’m privileged to have him here today talking to our supporters, making sure we have the right message out there to turn our state around,” he said.

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