- Associated Press - Monday, June 25, 2018

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - A Republican candidate who came close to unseating Rhode Island’s Democratic House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello in 2016 says he’s running again for the district in Cranston.

Steven Frias (FRY’-ahs) announced his candidacy on Monday.

Frias is an attorney and Republican National Committeeman for Rhode Island.

In a statement, Mattiello did not address Frias‘ candidacy but said a change in leadership would lead to a speaker who is less friendly to business.

Mattiello earlier this year acknowledged to the state Board of Elections that a political action committee he chaired wrongly gave his 2016 campaign $72,000. He agreed his campaign would pay back the money.

The board also found his former campaign aides were connected to a controversial mailer that said a former Republican political candidate endorsed him over Frias.

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