PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The three-way race for mayor of Providence features twice-convicted felon and ex-Mayor Buddy Cianci making a comeback bid for a seventh term as an independent.
Now, it's gotten even more unusual: The Republican candidate has given a $1,000 donation to the Democratic candidate.
Dan Harrop donated the maximum allowed under state law to Jorge Elorza about 10 days ago, Harrop said Monday.
"I think he is a good and honorable man. I disagree with him on many, many policy issues," Harrop said of Elorza. "I am fourth in a three-man race. I'm behind the undecided voters. It's clearly coming down to a race between the two of them."
Harrop has repeatedly gone after Cianci in debates for the corruption that ran rampant under his two previous administrations. Cianci was forced from office in 1984 after being convicted of assault and then, after a comeback in 1990, he was convicted of racketeering conspiracy in 2002 and sent to prison for 4 1/2 years.
Harrop, a psychiatrist, said he would not drop out of the race or endorse Elorza, a law professor and former housing court judge. But when asked by The Associated Press if he would vote for Elorza, Harrop replied: "Ask me that later. I don't know. I really don't know at this point. I've got two weeks to make a decision."
David Ortiz, Elorza's campaign spokesman, said Elorza was pleased to receive the Republican's donation.
"They happen to agree that Providence needs honest leadership moving forward," Ortiz said.
Cianci called Harrop a nuisance who is not a legitimate candidate, and he released a statement asking Republicans to support him. Cianci said Harrop uses his debate appearances to throw bombs at him.
"It's obvious that they're in collusion together," he said. "One of them can't beat me, so the other says, 'Let's team up.'"
Harrop and Ortiz denied any collusion and said Elorza never asked Harrop for money. He said he had only spoken with Elorza and his campaign staff during debates, or chitchat during various campaign appearances. The only time it's gone beyond that was when Elorza called him after his donation, Harrop said.
"He thanked me very much for my donation. I said I hoped he could put it to good use. He mentioned it had been a pleasure debating me," Harrop said. "He treated me as if I was just a donor."
Harrop's donation was first reported by WPRI-TV.
Elorza began this month with much less campaign cash on hand than Cianci. While Cianci has been airing TV ads for weeks, Elorza has yet to run one.
The men are running to replace one-term Mayor Angel Taveras, who ran unsuccessfully for governor.