Cranston Mayor Allan Fung announced Tuesday that he will form an exploratory committee to run for Rhode Island governor in 2014, handing Republicans a top recruit for the open-seat race.
“I will use the next couple of months to evaluate whether I can bring the same successes we have had in Cranston to Rhode Island," Fung said in a statement.
Gov. Lincoln Chafee (D) announced last week that he won't seek a second term.
Fung will likely face the winner of a Democratic primary between Providence Mayor Angel Taveras and state treasurer Gina Raimondo.
Chafee, a former GOP senator, won a three-way race in 2010 as an independent candidate. He recently switched parties again, apparently in hopes of improving his electoral odds.
The absence of the unpopular Chafee as an independent candidate or Democratic nominee likely reduces the GOP's chances of victory in blue Rhode Island, but Fung's entry would give Republicans a fighting chance.