Progressives are taking on some top state Senate Democrats in September’s primary election, seeking to expand their influence within the state legislature.

Senate President Dominick Ruggerio, President Pro Tempore Harold Metts, Majority Whip Maryellen Goodwin, and Senate Majority Leader Michael McCaffrey, all have challengers that would be considered Progressives in the Sept. 8 Democratic Primary.

Today at 4 p.m. was the deadline for candidates to file signatures to place their name on the primary and general election ballots. We checked for signature totals on the Secretary of State’s website throughout the day and at about 7p.m., three hours after the filing deadline. Unless otherwise noted, all candidates listed here met the minimum number of signatures required to be placed on the ballot. 

Leonard A. Cioe, Jr., a Progressive Democrat is challenging Ruggerio, who as Senate president is considered perhaps the second most powerful figure in state government, behind Speaker of the House Nicholas Mattiello.

Majority Whip Maryellen Goodwin, D-Providence, is facing a challenge from Even Lemoine, a Democrat and CPA whose website associates him with several Progressive causes.

State Sen. Harold Metts, D-Providence, President Pro Tempore, is being challenged by Tiara T. Mack, a community activist and organizer. Senate Majority Leader Michael McCaffrey, D-Warwick, faces Jennifer T. Rourke, a strong healthcare, and veterans advocate. Both Mack and Rourke are African Americans who reportedly have been subjected to racial taunts during online Zoom events.

The winner of the Metts/Mack primary will face Kevin Gilligan, a Green Party candidate who also collected sufficient signatures to be place on the November ballot (General election is Nov. 3).

The winner of the McCaffrey/Rourke race will face Republican Jean Trafford in the General Election.

Elsewhere on Aquidneck Island Senate election races:

  • State. Sen. Walter Felag, D-Tiverton, Warren will face Republican Mark W. Smiley in the General Election.
  • Both Senators Louis DiPalma, D-Little Compton, Middletown, and Dawn Euer, D- Jamestown, Newport, are running unopposed.

On the House Side, Speaker Pro Tempore Brian Patrick Kennedy, D-Westerly, faces a primary challenge from Michael J. Torres. The winner of that race will face Republican Donald H. Kohlman. All three submitted the required signatures, along with candidates in the following races.

  • John G. Edwards and Michelle McGaw will face off in a primary election for the seat being vacated by Dennis Canario, D-Portsmouth, Tiverton. The winner will face Republican Amy E. Veri and Independent Nathan Joseph Melvin in the general election. 
  • Rep. Terri-Denise Cortvriend, D-Portsmouth, is being challenged in the primary by Christopher T. Semonelli, with Republican Kenneth J. Mendonca waiting to face the winner in the general election.
  • Rep. Marvin Abney, D-Portsmouth is running unopposed.
  • Rep. Deb Ruggiero, D-Jamestown faces a primary challenge from Henry F. Lombardi.
  • Rep. Lauren Carson, D-Newport, is apparently running unopposed. Patrick J. Donovan, a Republican, had filed to run, but according to the Secretary of State’s website he had not filed his papers with any signatures, as of 6:45 tonight.

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