By Associated Press - Monday, February 24, 2020

CRANSTON, R.I. (AP) - Barbara Ann Fenton-Fung, a Republican activist and wife of a two-time GOP candidate for governor of Rhode Island, filed paperwork Monday to challenge Democratic House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello.

“In response to a near tsunami of support in Cranston to end what has become the Mattiello horror show, this allows us to legally take the logical next steps to start fundraising and putting a winning team in place prior to formally launching a campaign,” Fenton-Fung, 39, wrote in a statement.

A physical therapist, she is married to two-term Cranston Mayor Allan Fung, a two-time Republican nominee for governor. He lost both times to Democrat Gina Raimondo.

Mattiello, as speaker, is one of Rhode Island’s most powerful politicians. He narrowly beat Republican opponent Steven Frias in his Cranston district in 2016 and again in 2018.

He has represented the district since 2007.



Mattiello in statement Monday said he is running on his record.

“I look forward to the continued honor of representing the citizens of House District 15 and intend to run on my strong record of accomplishment and leadership for the district and the city of Cranston,” he said.

The election is in November.

Mattiello has faced criticism recently for ordering a performance audit of the Rhode Island Convention Center Authority through the joint committee responsible for the General Assembly’s daily operations.

Mattiello was accused of ordering it in retaliation as the agency was dealing with a personnel issue involving one of his campaign donors. Mattiello said it was not connected, though he canceled the audit after questions were raised.

In a separate matter, one of his former campaign aides faces charges of money laundering and making a prohibited campaign contribution. The charges stem from the financing of a mailer endorsing Mattiello in the 2016 race. The list of potential witnesses for a trial, submitted by prosecutors, includes Mattiello. Mattiello has said he did not know how the mailer was paid for.

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