Fourty-seven states down, two to go in primary 2018. Tonight, it’s Rhode Island’s turn. The state has been lopsidedly Democratic in the Presidential vote for decades, but it elected Republican Governors for twelve straight years until 2010, and its First Congressional District, represented by Democrat David Cicilline, was competitive that same year.
For most contests, the excitement tonight, as U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse and both Democratic Congressmen are all strongly favored to win in November. Republicans Patrick Donovan and Frederick Wysocki duke it out for the right to probably lose to Cicilline, while Roque De La Fuente completes his elusive quest to get an absurd share of the Republican Senate primary vote in as many states as possible.
The real action tonight involves the gubernatorial primaries. Incumbent Democratic Governor Gina Raimondo is facing a challenge from the left in former Secretary of State Matt Brown, who has the backing of Senator Bernie Sanders’ Our Revolution and the Justice Democrats. Raimondo is underwater in approval and has governed as a fiscal moderate, upsetting more progressive voters in a state that voted for Sanders in the Presidential primary.
On the Republican side, we can probably expect an early win tonight for Allan Fung. Fung, the Mayor of Cranston, lost a close election to Raimondo in 2018 and has the backing of establishment Republicans in the primary over State House Minority Leader Patricia Morgan and Giovanni Feroce.
What to watch for:
Providence and Warwick won’t report early, so for some indicators of a Democratic shift against Raimondo, watch how well Brown performs in Pawtucket, Cranston, East Providence, and West Warwick, all of which were carried by Sanders and reported within 45 minutes of polls closing.
On the Republican side, expect Fung to get a big lead out of Cranston, and you can eyeball many of the same cities mentioned earlier for Brown/Raimondo, with Coventry thrown in to monitor Morgan’s chances. Morgan’s seat covers Coventry, Warwick and West Warwick. If she can’t carry them, it’s safe to say she won’t be pulling off an upset.