Election 2018 in Rhode Island promises to be as competitive as any in recent history, from the State House to city and town halls. Voters will be challenged to learn about a plethora of candidates, and candidates will be challenged to get their message in front of voters.

As with many elections, campaign finances will play a key role, but as a recent House primary election in New York demonstrated, and others have in the past, having the biggest campaign bank account does not necessarily translate to an election day victory.

Last week, hundreds of individuals from throughout the state officially declared their candidacies. The next major deadline these candidates face is collecting sufficient signatures to place their names on the official ballot.

In the weeks ahead – and it has already begun – some candidates will have second thoughts and will withdraw from the race before it even begins. Karl Wadensten, a prominent businessman, declared for Lieutenant Governor, filed his declaration papers, and then withdraw when he did not receive the Republican party’s nomination at the state convention.

At WhatsUpNewp we’ll follow local and statewide races carefully, and this week begin stories on the local town races, from what appears to be a very crowded race for council in Tiverton, to a Newport Council race that sees the retirement of the mayor and an effort by a former councilman to win back his council seat.

In the General Assembly, while many are running unopposed, there are several competitive races, including House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello, who faces a challenge from Steven Frias, the Republican who lost a close race to Mattiello in 2016.

In Newport, Mayor Harry Winthrop is not seeking reelection, while former Councilman Justin McLaughlin is looking to return to the council after a two year hiatus.  There are 14 candidates running for ward and at-large council seats, with all incumbent filing, except for Winthrop. Susan Taylor who had represented Ward 1, has switched to running at large.

There are 13 candidates for the Newport’s seven school committee seats, with the only incumbent not running, Jo Eva Gains.

In the state Senate race for district 13, Newport and Jamestown, Dawn Euer, the Democrat who won in a special election last year faces a challenge from Republican Matthew Paul Perry. In the House, incumbent Marvin Abney, D-Newport, faces challenges from a Republican, David Quiroa, and Independent David Quiroa, Jr. The Quiroas are father and son (Junior is the son) and live at the same address, in what may be one of the more bizarre races in Rhode Island.

Lauren Carson, D-Newport is running unopposed in her reelection bid for the district 75 seat.

We’ll take more in-depth looks at these and other races over the next several weeks.