PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) - Newport businessman Guillaume de Ramel will run for Secretary of State next year, WPRI.com has confirmed.
"I'm planning on running in 2014," de Ramel, a Democrat, told WPRI.com in an email.
de Ramel is the first candidate to publicly announce his plans to run for the office, but several candidates have expressed interest in the job, including Democratic Party Chairman Ed Pacheco and Republican Catherine Taylor, who lost to Mollis by 1.2% of the vote in 2010 and now serves as Gov. Lincoln Chafee's director of elderly affairs.
In the 2006 Democratic primary, de Ramel lost to current Secretary of State Ralph Mollis by less than 5,000 votes. De Ramel decided against running for the office in 2010. Term limits prohibit Mollis from running again in two years.
A review of campaign finance reports by WPRI.com shows de Ramel loaned his 2006 campaign $400,000 and spent $423,741 during the race. "The secretary of state's office plays a vital role in open and transparent government," he wrote at the time, pledging to "make it an asset for the people of our state."
de Ramel is the wealthy great-grandson of the late Frederick H. Prince, who made a fortune in finance, railroads, stockyards and other industries starting in the 1880s; by the 1930s Time magazine was describing him as "New England's richest citizen and Boston's crustiest celebrity."
Prince, whose father was a former mayor of Boston, established the Prince Charitable Trusts family foundation in 1947 to support Newport, where he and his family lived, as well as Chicago and New York.
de Ramel, who also grew up in Newport, is a trustee of the trusts as well as a director of F.H. Prince LLC, the Florida-based holding company founded by his great-grandfather. He also co-founded Air Newport LLP, an air charter service. He studied architecture at Hobart and William Smith Colleges and earned a master's in real estate development from Columbia University.
de Ramel, 38, lives in Newport with his wife, Molly, and their two children, Charlie and Elizabeth. Gov. Lincoln Chafee named him to the R.I. Coastal Resources Management Council in 2011.
Ted Nesi contributed to this report.
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