Anchor Staff Writer
It is now clear that after all the election night/week hiccups, that former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Kamala Harris will be the next President and Vice President of the United States. Now is the point in time where President-elect Biden will have to start selecting cabinet members and make the transition to becoming President once sworn in on inauguration day Wednesday, January 20. This created an interesting question for me as a Rhode Islander: what does a Biden presidency mean for Rhode Island?
One of the names that have floated around for a possible cabinet position is Rhode Island Governor, Gina Raimondo. Governor Raimondo was even interviewed among many candidates back when President-elect Biden was deciding who would be his running mate.
If Governor Raimondo were to be selected for a cabinet position, that would bring an interesting situation for Rhode Island. Lieutenant Governor Dan McKee (D) would then become Governor, but the interesting part doesn’t stop there. The way a new Lieutenant Governor would be selected has brought a lot of attention to how Rhode Island makes this decision compared to other states. In our state’s case, Lieutenant Governor McKee would be able to appoint a new Lieutenant Governor. However, this met controversy since State Representative Arthur Corvese (D-North Providence) desires to introduce a bill he has mentioned in the past which would make the General Assembly have to vote on the new Lieutenant Governor.
A potential new Governor and Lieutenant Governor in office only two years before the next election could be interesting. This would change a lot in potential scenarios since there would be an incumbency factor for Lieutenant Governor McKee and whomever he selects to be the new Lieutenant Governor. That change could benefit him in what will most likely be a packed primary, with the likes of Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea, Congressman James Langevin (RI-2), General Treasurer Seth Magaziner, Mayor of Providence Jorge Elorza and many others speculated to run for Governor in 2022.
Alongside that potential scenario, there is also a possibility of how our state will vote in the 2022 midterm elections. Historically, the party not in control of the presidency does better in the midterm elections that follow. Given how close the last two gubernatorial elections were in Republican wave years 2010 and 2014, it is possible for a Republican to win if historical precedents and a good candidate come into effect. This also depends on who would be the nominee on the Republican side. Civilian eyes should be all over the Rhode Island 2022 gubernatorial election, and these are just a few of the ways Biden’s presidency could affect Rhode Island.