Fung falls short

Posted 11/9/22

It was a roller coaster ride Election Night that didn’t end well for the man who led Cranston for 12 years and was ready to do even bigger things in Washington.

As the votes started coming …

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Fung falls short


It was a roller coaster ride Election Night that didn’t end well for the man who led Cranston for 12 years and was ready to do even bigger things in Washington.

As the votes started coming in shortly after 8:15 p.m., those who had gathered at the Twin Oakes with hopes of a victory party, were seeing and hearing what they wanted. Radio host John DePetro who was live streaming from the restaurant announced loudly that Allan Fung was ahead of Seth Magaziner by four points in the race for the Second Congressional District. That caused a stir and there was a smattering of cheers. DePetro’s information had come from Fox News.

But JR Pagliarini, who has been through many political races not only as a campaign consultant but at one time a candidate, wasn’t swayed. Yes, he said it was good that Fung was ahead, however, only a small percentage of the vote was in. Ten minutes later, Fung’s lead was shaved down to a two point lead and soon thereafter according to the State Board of Elections tally had them in a dead heat. Might this race come down to the mail ballots and perhaps a recount?

By 9:30 what little steam there had been for a victory celebration evaporated and the room started clearing out. Even some of the news media that had camped in front of the podium bearing Fung’s banner drifted away. Fung’s mother, who had a front row seat had left. By 10:22 the State Board of Elections was reporting Fung with 47 percent of the votes and Magaziner with 50.1 percent. With 98 percent of the state’s polling places reporting, Fung was trailing by 6,097 votes.

Pagliarini was crestfallen not only because Fung, a Republican and a friend,  had lost but because the state had missed an opportunity to offset  Democratic control. 

“It’s healthy for our democracy,” he said. Had Fung won he said it would have been an historical moment not seen in the state for the past 30 years.

“In Rhode Island when the Democratic Party coalesces  it’s very difficult to break them,” he said. Former Mayor Michael Traficante joined in the conversation. He was appalled that Fung’s margin in Cranston was about 500 votes. Pagliarini agreed that was weak and speculated had there been mayoral races in Cranston and Warwick the results might have been otherwise.

Fung’s lasting mark on Cranston

Fung, 52, grew up on the south side of Providence and graduated from Classical High School. As the first in his family to graduate from college, Fung earned a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Rhode Island College and furthered his education at Boston’s Suffolk University Law School. Before his public servant career, Fung worked as a criminal prosecutor in the Narcotics and Organized Crime Unit of the RI Attorney General’s Office and later the Government Affairs Counsel for MetLife.

Fung was first elected to Cranston’s City Council in 2003 as a citywide candidate and served on the elected body until 2007. In 2008, Fung was elected as mayor – beating Democrat Cynthia Fogarty with 63 percent of the vote. According to Fung’s website, he ran in Cranston’s mayoral election because he saw his beloved city heading down the wrong path and knew he could help right the ship. He maintained the mayoral position for 12 years until he could not run again due to term limits. Over the course of his time running for mayor, Fung earned a greater percentage of Cranston’s vote in each election, up until the 2016 election. In 2010 against Richard Tomlins, Fung earned 76.3 percent of the vote and – when he ran unopposed in 2012 – 97.2 percent of voters favored him. In 2016, Fung faced Michael Sepe and took 68.2 percent of the vote.

In Cranston, Fung led the city to its highest bond rating in over two decades, increased business development by over $110 million and added over 4700 new jobs during his tenure. He also negotiated pension reforms and worked with the local public schools.

In terms of public safety, Fung started the first police detail program to monitor and protect children at schools and ensured funding for the city’s school resource officers. He also worked in Cranston to expand community policing and opening substations in senior manors in Edgewood and Knightsville. 

Fung took his ideas to the state level when, in 2014 and 2018, he ran for governor as the Republican nominee; he lost to Democrat Gina Raimondo both times in the General Election. After serving as Cranston’s mayor, Fung returned to practicing law. Earlier in the year when Democratic Rep. Jim Langevin announced his retirement, Fung decided to run for the CD2 seat – looking to bring a Republican into the position after the Democratic Party has held the seat for the last three decades.

Magaziner’s presence in District 2

Magaziner, 39, is a lifelong Rhode Islander who has served as Rhode Island’s General Treasurer since 2015. In this position, he delivered results for the second congressional district by investing in education, job creation and clean energy infrastructure. He also served as the chair of the state’s school building task force and led a statewide school construction initiative that created over 28,000 jobs and repaired or replaced over 200 schools like Garden City Elementary School in Cranston and the soon-to-be-completed combined elementary school in Johnston. He also launched innovative clean energy financing programs that have helped cities and towns build out solar, wind and climate resiliency projects, saving taxpayers money and reducing fossil fuel emissions.

Over the last eight years, he helped pass the Reproductive Privacy Act in 2019 that codified the protections of Roe v. Wade into state law, as well as gun measures like banning guns on school grounds and a red flag law to take guns out of the hands of domestic abusers.

Formally endorsed by Langevin for the CD2 seat, Magaziner won the Democratic primary with 54 percent of the vote. The next candidate to follow was David Segal with 16.2 percent of the vote. In the race, Magaziner had five opponents.

Campaign focus points

Fung’s platform focused on curbing inflation, lowering the cost of living, fighting for low energy costs, restoring energy independence and modernizing the supply chain. He also advocated for getting to the root of criminal behaviors, such as poverty, mental health issues and dependency.

“We need to address these issues by being active and present in our community and advocating for common-sense bipartisan initiatives,” reads Fung’s website.

During his campaign, Fung spoke of improving the ability to provide mental and physical support for veterans as well as improving rehab technologies for those who need upgraded prosthetics or burn care from injuries sustained in conflict. For veterans, Fung also sought to increase access to housing vouchers and improved preference in HUD apartment complexes.

Magaziner’s platform included building a stronger economy, lowering costs, having public health and pandemic preparedness, making healthcare more affordable, protecting social security and Medicare, defending reproductive rights, ending gun violence, lowering cost of energy and combating climate change, protecting democracy and strengthening America and supporting veterans.

He also advocated for helping Rhode Islanders keep up with the cost of living by protecting Social Security and Medicare, lowering the price of prescription drugs and returning big oil company profits back to consumers. One of the key points in his campaign was that he would stand up for a woman’s right to make her own healthcare decisions and pass common-sense gun safety legislation.

Fung, race


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