RI governor faces tough primaries for 1st full term

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Rhode Island Gov. Dan McKee faces a stiff challenge from secretary of state in Tuesday’s Democratic primary as he seeks his first full term in office after taking office when the governor’s two of terms Gina Raimondo was selected as US Secretary of Commerce.

McKee is trying to avoid becoming the first sitting governor to lose a primary since 2018, when Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer narrowly lost the Republican nomination to Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who lost the general election to Democrat Laura Kelly. current governor of the state. Like McKee, Colyer took over when the sitting governor resigned for another job.

McKee is touting his leadership in navigating the state’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic after he is sworn in as governor in March 2021. His top Democratic challenger, Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea, who would be the first New England’s Latina governor if elected, says the state needs better leadership on issues like housing, education and climate change.

In the last primary election before the November general election, voters in Rhode Island choose candidates for governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state, treasurer, the U.S. House, state legislature and local offices. New Hampshire and Delaware also hold primaries on Tuesday.

With the retirement of longtime Democratic Rep. Jim Langevin, the state’s 2nd Congressional District is open for the first time in 30 years. Six Democrats are vying for the party’s nomination, while Republicans are eyeing the seat as a potential pickup opportunity in November.

But the top race in Rhode Island on Tuesday is the Democratic primary, the winner of which will be favored to win the liberal state in November.

In addition to McKee and Gorbea, three other Democrats are also seeking the nomination: former CVS Health executive Helena Foulkes, who wants to use her business background to lead the state as it recovers from the pandemic; former Rhode Island Secretary of State and progressive candidate Matt Brown; and community activist Dr. Luis Daniel Muñoz.

On the Republican side, businessman Ashley Kalus is running against Jonathan Riccitelli, who made an unsuccessful bid for lieutenant governor in 2018 as an independent. Kalus, a political newcomer who moved to Rhode Island last year from Illinois, said she’s ready to “take on whoever the insider or political career comes out of the Democratic primary.”

The Boston Globe reported Friday that Riccitelli had been arrested dozens of times since 2000 under a different name. The Globe said the criminal charges ranged from obstructing officers to assault and were filed against someone named Jonathan Tefft, according to court records.

Riccitelli told the paper that he could not remember how many times he had been arrested and denied all charges were his, but acknowledged that his mother was married to someone whose last name was Tefft and people might call him Jonathan Tefft some dot. . The Department of Corrections confirmed Monday that a man named Jonathan J. Tefft-Riccitelli was in and out of state prisons from 2000 to 2011.

In the state’s 2nd Congressional District, state Treasurer Seth Magaziner is considered the front-runner and has been endorsed by Langevin, who was the first quadriplegic to serve in Congress. Magaziner had run for governor, but switched races after Langevin’s announcement to try to keep the seat in Democratic control.

National Republican leaders are aiming to flip the seat in their control for the first time since 1991, and they’re hoping a former Cranston mayor, Alan Fung, can do it. House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy visited Rhode Island in August to raise money for Fung.

Two Republican challengers dropped out of the primary contest to make way for Fung. His campaign spokesman Steven Paiva said Fung is poised to lead “Rhode Island’s rejection of the unknown ideology of wealthy elites” and that Tuesday’s Democratic winner will prove to be “a rubber stamp” for the president’s agenda. Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi.

The magazine faces a crowded Democratic field with Joy Fox, a former top aide to Langevin. former Biden administration official Sarah Morgenthau; Omar Bah, executive director of The Refugee Dream Center in Providence; and former state legislators David Segal and Spencer Dickinson.

Magaziner said his campaign is about getting results on the issues that matter most, such as protecting Social Security and Medicare, defending abortion rights, lowering health care costs and “turning the page on Trumpism”. He said he’s asking residents to get out and vote Tuesday and in November because the stakes are high.

Morgenthau is calling for change since Rhode Island has never elected a Democratic woman to Congress, although voters elected a Republican in 1980. Morgenthau said now more than ever, voters need to elect women who will protect abortion rights.

In the 1st Congressional District, Democratic U.S. Rep. David Cicilline will face Republican Allen Waters in November. Both are unopposed on Tuesday. Cicilline is seeking his seventh term.

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Follow AP for complete coverage of the midterms at https://apnews.com/hub/2022-midterm-elections and on Twitter at https://twitter.com/ap_politics.

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