Heading into the final days of the 2018 election – locally and statewide – incumbents hold a strong edge financially, as candidates look to solidify their voter bases and assure supporters turn out at the polls.
Expect candidates to accelerate efforts to get their message out. Voters across the state will be inundated with advertisements, mailers and political phone calls, all part of the frenetic race to the polls.
While some candidates – often those with limited ability to raise funds – discount the importance of adequate campaign accounts, it is from these funds that candidates try to stay top of mind of their supporters and persuade those who are unsure to vote for them.
As election day nears, campaigns are busy identifying their most likely voters and assuring that they vote.
While money always isn’t always the answer, it is helpful in buying the ads, paying the consults, designing and printing the flyers, and buying time or space in print, on radio, tv, social media, and the internet.
The Rhode Island Board of Elections requires candidates to file a financial report 28 days before the election, besides the mandatory quarterly reports. Federally, U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representative candidates last filed on August 2 with the Federal Elections Commission. Here’s a look at the statewide races, Senate and House races on Aquidneck Island, and Newport council and school committee races.
U.S. Senate and House of Representatives
In the U.S. Senate race, former Supreme Court Justice Robert Flanders, a Republican, is hoping to prevent Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, a Democrat, from serving a third six-year term.
Whitehouse holds a significant lead in recent polling and a significant lead in available campaign funds. Whitehouse’s campaign cash balance, as of August 23, was $3.4 million, compared to Flanders $301,000. Flanders had also loaned his campaign $250,000.
In the House races:
- District 1: Incumbent Rep. David Cicilline, a Democrat, had $1,065,093 available on August 23, while his opponent, Republican Patrick Donovan apparently had not filed his latest financial report.
- District 2: Incumbent Rep. James Langevin, a Democrat, had $976,430 available, while his opponent, Republican Salvatore Caiozzo had $190.
Leading the way is Gov. Gina Raimondo, who raised considerable money throughout the campaign (some $6 million total). From Sept. 5 through October 8, she has raised an additional $450,000 from individuals and political action committees, bringing her total funds available for the final month to $1,348,608.
Raimondo’s chief opponent, Cranston Mayor Allan Fung, during that Sept. 5 through October 8 period, raised nearly $140,000 from supporters, and received $1,175,245 in state funds, the only gubernatorial candidate to receive funds under the program. He goes into the final weeks of the campaign with a cash balance of $823,739.
Independent Joe Trillo a longtime Republican who chose to run as an Independent after co-chairing President Trump’s 2016 Rhode Island campaign, has primarily self-funded his campaign with personal loans. He enters the final weeks of the campaign with a fund balance of $208,909. The other Independent, Louis Daniel Munoz, reported a fund balance of $41.
William Gilbert, the Moderate Party candidate, also has primarily self-funded his campaign through loans and shows a balance as of Oct. 8 of 101,095.
Compassionate Party Candidate Anne Armstrong shows a balance of $295.
Other statewide races
- Lieutenant Governor: Incumbent Dan McKee, a Democrat, $268,424; Republican challenger, Paul Pence, 247.
- Secretary of State: Incumbent Nellie Gorbea, a Democrat, $443,740; Republican challenger, Pat Cortellessa, $482.
- Attorney General: Peter Neronha, Democrat, $230,357; Compassion Party Candidate Alan Gordon, $276.92. Current Attorney General Peter Kilmartin, a Democrat, is completing his second four-year term and was unable to run for reelection because of term limits that permit of two-terms for general officers in Rhode Island.
- General Treasurer: Incumbent Seth Magaziner, a Democrat, $568,965; Republican Michael G. Riley, $188.
State Senate and State House of Representatives (only contested races)
- Senate District 11, Bristol and Portsmouth: Incumbent James Seveney, a Democrat, $10,043; Republican Stephanie Calise, $1,150.
- Senate District 12, Little Compton, Middletown: Incumbent Louis DiPalma, a Democrat, $13,900; Republican Amy Veri, $321.
- Senate District 13, Jamestown, Newport: Incumbent Dawn Euer, a Democrat, $12,983; Republican Matthew Paul Perry, had not filed and was the Board of Elections listed his report as past due.
- House District 69, Bristol: Incumbent Susan Donovan, a Democrat, $10,494; Independent Douglas Gablinski, $3,669.
- House District 72, Portsmouth: Incumbent Ken Mendonca, a Republican, $4,738; Democrat Terri-Denise Cortvriend, $11,505.
- House District 73, Newport: Incumbent Marvin Abney, a Democrat, $85,731; and the father-son duo that opposes him, David A. Quiroa (Republican) and David A. Quiroa (Independent), both reported zero cash available in their campaign finance accounts.
- House District 74, Jamestown: Incumbent Deborah Ruggiero, a Democrat, $58,339; Republican Rebecca Schiff, $15,970.
Newport City Council and School Committee
Both the council and school committee are comprised of seven members each and run without party affiliation. Four of the seven councilors run at-large, while three are elected by voters in their wards.
- Council, at-large: There are seven candidates for four seats, including Susan Taylor, who currently serves on the council representing the first ward, but is running at-large. Taylor has $228 available cash in her campaign account. Others running at large are Hugo Deascentis, $561; Incumbent Marco Camacho, reported zero cash available in his campaign account; Richard Wick Rudd, his report had not been filed and was listed as past due; Incumbent Jamie Bova, $5,847; Justin McLaughlin, $4,061; and Incumbent Jeanne-Marie Napolitano.
- Ward one: James Dring, $1,313; and Angela McCalla, $2,875.
- Ward two: Incumbent Lynn Ceglie, $4,108; Valerie Larkin, one dollar. Liam Barry, report shows a zero cash balance and was eliminated in September’s Primary;
- Ward three: Incumbent Kathryn Leonard, $21,809. The only other declared candidate for the third ward seat, Peter Harty, withdrew.