Updated: Sep 13
Rhode Island is one step closer to making history with former White House official Gabe Amo’s victory in Tuesday’s Democratic primary for Rhode Island’s 1st Congressional District. If Amo prevails in the general election, he will become the first ever person of color to represent Rhode Island in Congress.
Amo emerged victorious over close to a dozen Democrats with 32.4% of the vote. Aaron Regunberg, who was perceived as a frontrunner and had endorsements from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) finished second. Pawtucket state Sen. Sandra Cano, another perceived frontrunner, placed third with 13.9% of the vote. Lt. Gov. Sabina Matos, whose campaign faced multiple scandals, placed fourth with 8% of the vote.
Amo, a former staffer for Gov. Raimondo and Presidents Obama and Biden, clinched the seat held by former Rep. David Cicciline (D-RI) by leaning heavily on his moderate appeal and political experience, as well as endorsements by former Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) and the Congressional Black Caucus.
“It is not lost on me that I stand on the shoulders of giants. Black, brown, women, so many people who have had the opportunity to pave a pathway so I could stand here today.”, Amo stated during his victory speech shortly before missing a congratulatory call from President Biden.
Amo, during his campaign, stuck a messaging tone in line with the priorities of the Democratic Party. He argued that as Rhode Island’s next congressman, he would fight for a ban on assault weapons, access to abortion, the protection of Social Security and Medicare, green investment in Rhode Island, and student loan forgiveness.
His competitors, as well as national Democratic politicians, quickly lined up to back Amo in the general election. “Needless to say, I plan to do whatever I can to support his campaign in the general election and I’m wishing him all the best in the weeks, months and years ahead,” Regunberg stated in his concession speech.
Amo will face U.S. Marine corps veteran Gerry Leonard, winner of CD1’s Republican primary, in the general election in November. The general election is said to strongly favor Amo, due to CD1 encompassing strong Democrat voting counties like Providence and Newport.