The characters are in place. Political declarations are in, nomination papers have been filed and accepted, and today (July 31) candidates must file their second quarter financial reports. And what’s shaping up is a busy, complicated, and sometimes bizarre election season, from the Governor’s race to the Senate to local races.
There’s a U.S. Senate candidate who lives in San Diego and is not only running in Rhode Island, but in several other states … and he can do that. There’s a father and son running against each other in a state legislative race. There’s the Compassion Party, the Moderate Party, and traditional Democrats and Republicans, along with a host of independents.
One gubernatorial candidate trolls his yacht along the South County shore, hitting rocks, requiring assistance, then claiming the yacht, which was photographed just a few hundred feet from shore, was a half mile off the beach. Other candidates have been embroiled over arguments about signs, about who said what to whom, have given little information about their platforms or positions on significant issues.
The Speaker of the House, Nicholas Mattiello, the most powerful individual in state government, is in a battle for his seat against a challenger, who last time lost in a close race to Mattiello.
There’s a huge disparity in money raised by some candidates and their opponents, with a backdrop that some in office have overcome the financial gap, and lack of party endorsement. Some of those statewide candidates will narrow the financial gap by accepting state matching funds.
Here’s a quick look at a few races:
There are three-way primaries in both the Democratic and Republican parties, with all six candidates having experience in elective office. Gov. Raimondo, who has a robust campaign fund, faces former Secretary of State Matt Brown and former state Rep. Spencer Dickinson in the Democratic primary.
On the Republican side, Cranston Mayor Alan Fung faces former House Minority Leader Patricia Morgan, and former state Sen. Giovanni Ferocci. Fung lost in a relatively close election to Raimondo last election.
Anne Armstrong is the Compassion party’s candidate, and William Gilbert is running on the Moderate Party ticket. Former state Rep. Joseph Trillo, who was President Donald Trump’s co-campaign chair in Rhode Island, and physician Luis Daniel Munoz are running as independents.
Raimondo, whose war chest far outdistances all rivals, has nearly $8 million raised, with more than $6 million cash remaining, according to a July 24 report required of candidates who face primary elections. The purpose of the report is basically to identify those primary candidates who intend to accept state matching funds. For governor that’s more than $1 million. Raimondo said she would not accept matching funds.
Brown, the progressive former Secretary of State who has raised nearly $340,000 through July 24, has said he would accept matching funds. Spencer Dickinson, the third Democrat in the race who doesn’t identify as a progressive but leans in that direction, has raised just $45,000, according to the July 24 report and has said he will not accept matching funds.
On the Republican side, Fung, who’s raised nearly $900,000, and Morgan, who’s raised nearly $300,000, have both said they’d accept matching funds. Feroce, wo raised less than $20,000 has said he will not accept matching funds.
The matching funds are awarded to the primary election winners.
While all candidates are required to file quarterly financial reports by the end of today, only Trillo, among gubernatorial candidates has filed early. His report shows that for the period between April 1 and June 30 he raised little in contributions, with the bulk of funds coming from a loan of $100,005 that he gave to his own campaign. His total cash balance at the end of the quarter was slightly more than $80,000.
Identified by the Boston Globe and CNN as among the most competitive races in New England, the Democratic primary election pits incumbent Dan McKee, mid 60’s former Cumberland mayor and a centrist, against challenger state Rep. Aaron Regunberg, 27-year-old progressive.
McKee, who has said he would accept matching funds, has raised, according to the July 24 report, some $470,000. Regunberg, who said he would decline matching funds, has raised about $424,000.
Republican candidate Paul Pence does not have to file his report until today.
Secretary of State, Attorney General, General Treasurer
There are no primaries in any of these races. Incumbent Nellie Gorbea, a Democrat who was unendorsed in 2014, but is endorsed this year, faces Republican Pat Cortelessa.
With incumbent Peter Kilmartin, finishing his second term (there’s a two-term limit), Democrat Peter F. Neronha, has won the party endorsement. He faces Compassion Party candidate Alan Gordon, whose law degree is from the United Kingdom’s University of Buckingham, and independent Charles Picerno.
Incumbent Treasurer Seth Magaziner, a Democrat, faces challenger Michael G. Riley, a Republican.
Incumbent Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse faces Patricia Fontes in a primary election. Federal finance reports were filed at the end of June. Whitehouse reported an election fund of more than $3.4 million. Fontes had not filed a report
Former state Supreme Court Justice Robert Flanders has perhaps the most intriguing primary opponent, Roque “Rocky” De La Fuente, who lives in San Diego and is also running in California, Florida, Minnesota, Washington and Wisconsin. Flanders has more than $380,000 remaining in his campaign account, while De La Fuente has a balance of less than $20,000.
U.S. House of Representatives, District 1
Incumbent Democrat David Cicilline faces a challenge from Chistopher Young. Cicilline’s report shows available cash as of June 30 of $1.2 million. There is no report for Young. There are no reports listed for either Republican candidate, Patrick Donovan or Frederick Wysocki.
U.S. House of Representatives, District 2
Incumbent Democrat James Langevin is being challenged by Republican Salvatore G. Caiozzo. Langevin has reported a cash balance in his campaign fund of $961,000. Caiozzo reported a cash balance of $1,189.
Other Local Races
We’ll take a more in-depth look at local elections in the days ahead, but of note is a competitive Newport election in which all candidates have qualified, with the exception of Peter Harty, who has withdrawn from the council race, and Veronica Rynn, who has dropped out of the school committee race.
In Newport’s 73rd Representative District, Democrat and incumbent Marvin Abney is facing a father-son duo. David A. Quiroa is running as a Republican and David A. Quiroa, Jr. is running as an independent.