Updated: Sep 13
Attention to all registered Rhode Island voters – Election Day is Tuesday! Voters who head to the polls will be able to vote on a number of key races. Here is a rundown of all the must-watch elections when those first results start coming in at 8 p.m.
Tuesday’s Democratic primary for governor is a competitive one to say the least. Five candidates are on the ballot: Dan Mckee, Nellie Gorbea, Helena Foulkes, Matt Brown and Luis Daniel Muñoz.
McKee has strong support from several unions such as the Rhode Island AFL-CIO, United Nurses and Allied Professionals and NEA Rhode Island. Heavy union support combined with being an incumbent could put him over the edge. But Gorbea places either as a close second or narrowly ahead of McKee in every poll released so far. Gorbea has support from EMILY’s List, several Democratic city and town Committees, Latino Victory Fund, Central Falls Mayor Maria Rivera, and former Providence Mayor Angel Tavares. Foulkes saw a surge in her poll numbers over time, and has spent over $1 million to this date. Prominent supporters of Foulkes include Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza, District 1 State Senator Maryellen Goodwin and U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. Pelosi also headlined a rally in Providence on Sunday in support of Foulkes. Four of the five candidates made their final case to voters in a televised debate Wednesday at the Nazarian Center.
Brown, who has a tight grip on the progressive vote, recently garnered an endorsement from U.S. Senator of Vermont and two-time presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. Sanders also endorsed District 18 State Senator Cynthia Mendes, who is running for Lieutenant Governor and campaigns with Brown as a duo. Brown and Mendes are running alongside 29 RI Political Cooperative candidates who are seeking elected offices throughout the state.
Muñoz is making the case as a political outsider who also fights for progressive causes such as a $35 an hour minimum wage, Medicare for All and a Green New Deal. 2020 presidential candidate and Founder of the Forward Party, Andrew Yang endorsed Muñoz in June. The winner of this primary will face Republican nominee Ashley Kalus, independent Paul Rianna Jr, independent Zachary Hurwitz and Libertarian Elijah Gizzarelli in November.
Another key race gaining local and national attention is Rhode Island’s Second Congressional District. Six Democrats are vying for the party’s nomination Tuesday to replace Congressman Jim Langevin. The candidates are Seth Magaziner, whom Langevin endorsed, Joy Fox, Omar Bah, Spencer Dickinson, Sarah Morgenthau and David Segal. Available polling and fundraising numbers show Magaziner as a favorite to secure the nomination. Whoever clinches a victory will run against former Cranston Mayor Allan Fung, the presumptive Republican nominee.
Two elections not getting as much attention are the races for general treasurer and lieutenant governor. Three Democrats are vying for the state’s number two office: Mendes, Lieutenant Governor Sabina Matos, who was appointed by McKee in 2021, and State Representative Deb Ruggiero. There are numerous factors that will decide who wins this Democratic nomination. Polling shows a race with over 50% of undecided voters that could tilt in any candidate’s favor. Two Republicans are seeking this office: Aaron Guckian, an aide to former Gov. Don Carcieri, and 2018 GOP nominee Paul Pence.
The race for treasurer has even more undecided voters than for lieutenant governor. Two Democrats are running for this open office: former RI Secretary of Commerce Stefan Pryor and former Central Falls Mayor James Diossa. A recent WPRI/RWU poll showed 61% of voters are undecided, while Pryor polls at 17% and Diossa has 18%. This primary has had its fair share of controversies that range from web domains being bought by opposing candidates to negative ads sparking outrage. The victor between Pryor and Diossa will go up against Republican James Lathrop in November.
Two Democrats are running for Secretary of State, another one of the open statewide offices up for grabs this year. State Representative Gregg Amore and Stephanie Beauté are on the ballot Tuesday. Both are focusing on similar issues such as increasing civic participation in Rhode Island, reducing red tape for small businesses, and making voting easier and accessible. Amore is seen as the favorite due to getting a very early start, stacking up high-profile endorsements and his sizable cash-on-hand advantage. Republican Pat Cortellessa will be on the November ballot, as he is unopposed in his primary.
Providence’s mayoral election will ultimately be decided Tuesday since no Republicans or Independents are running. The three candidates are Brett Smiley, Gonzalo Cuervo, and Nirva LaFortune. All three are focusing on the topical issues such as education, housing, the woefully unfunded pension system and quality of life. Their approaches differ slightly. Available polling has Smiley in the lead by five points, but since then Cuervo has gotten important endorsements from Elorza, who is term-limited as mayor, and Tavares.
Additional information about voting Tuesday can be found on vote.sos.ri.gov. Polling places will open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m.