Biden aide resigns post to enter crowded Rhode Island congressional race

 April 18, 2023

Deputy director of the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs and special assistant to President Joe Biden Gabe Amo resigned from his position on April 10 to prepare for a congressional run to fill a soon-to-be vacant Rhode Island House seat.

Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) will be leaving his seat in May to become the head of the Rhode Island Foundation, setting up a special election in the off-year to replace him.

Amo plans to join an already-crowded field of candidates, including Lt. Governor Sabina Matos, Providence City Councilman John Goncalves, former state Rep. Aaron Regunberg, and other state legislators.

Before his work with Biden at the White House, he served on the Biden-Harris transition team, the 2020 Biden campaign, was an adviser to Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo when she was governor of the state, and worked on Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse's (D) 2006 campaign.

An impressive career

For Biden, he served as point person for states to implement Biden's orders and legislative efforts, as well as coordinated responses to mass shootings and other national disasters.

His boss at the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs Julie Chavez Rodriguez told the Washington Post about him, “He was the heart and soul of our operation who approached every task, big or small, with the attitude of, ‘Give me a shovel and show me where to dig.’ His commitment to public service and the President is second to none.”

Because of his career experience, Amo may be able to get some high-profile endorsements that put him ahead of other candidates in the race.

The special election will be held on November 7, with a primary on September 5.

Safe Democrat seat

The seat Amo seeks to fill is a safe Democrat seat in Rhode Island, one of only two House seats in the state.

While Cicilline's seat is vacant, it will slightly increase the Republican majority in the House, which is exceedingly narrow at 222-213.

Republicans have been able to pass several conservative pieces of legislation, but it has mostly been stopped in the Senate or with a presidential veto.

Still, the House majority is stopping a lot of bad bills from being passed, and that is not likely to change until at least 2024 no matter who is elected in the Rhode Island special election.

Heart and soul

Cicilline decided to move on from the House after failing in his attempt to gain a leadership position in the House.

“For more than a decade, the people of Rhode Island entrusted me with a sacred duty to represent them in Congress, and it is a responsibility I put my heart and soul into every day to make life better for the residents and families of our state,” Cicilline told The Boston Globe. “The chance to lead the Rhode Island Foundation was unexpected, but it is an extraordinary opportunity to have an even more direct and meaningful impact on the lives of residents of our state."

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