Rhode Island Governor McKee narrowly wins Democratic primary
By JENNIFER McDERMOTT, Associated Press
PROVIDENCE, RI (AP) — Rhode Island Governor Dan McKee won a victory in his Democratic primary on Tuesday, fending off challenges from two opponents as he seeks his first full term.
McKee, the former lieutenant governor who became the state’s chief executive a year and a half ago when Governor Gina Raimondo was named U.S. Commerce Secretary, will be the big frontrunner in the liberal state in November against Republican Ashley Kalus, a business owner and political novice.
McKee edged out former CVS executive Helena Foulkes, who saw a late rise in the polls and won a last-minute endorsement from the Boston Globe editorial board. Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea, who was seeking to become the first Latina governor in New England, finished a close third.
“I’m proud to be here,” the 71-year-old governor said in his victory speech. “Because Rhode Island is positioned in a way that we’ve never had this momentum before and we’re going to take full advantage of it.”
In an awkward moment, a phone was handed to McKee during the speech. When told it was Foulkes, McKee said, “No, that’s not going to happen.” As the crowd chanted “four more years,” McKee said, “Hang ’em up, hang ’em up.”
Foulkes told her followers that she was upset that McKee didn’t answer her call.
In the final primaries before the November general election, Rhode Island voters chose candidates for state offices, the United States House, state legislature, and local offices. New Hampshire and Delaware also held primaries on Tuesday.
With his victory, McKee avoided becoming the first governor to lose his primary since 2018, when Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer narrowly lost the Republican nomination to Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who then lost the general election against Democrat Laura Kelly. Like McKee, Colyer took over when the incumbent governor resigned for another job.
In her campaign, McKee touted her leadership in handling the state’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic after being sworn in as governor in March 2021. Foulkes said she would work to find new ways for businesses to invest in Rhode Island and help existing businesses. businesses find new markets. Gorbea argued that the state needed better leadership on issues such as housing, education and climate change.
Besides McKee, Foulkes and Gorbea, two other Democrats were also seeking nomination: former Secretary of State Matt Brown, a progressive; and community activist Dr. Luis Daniel Muñoz.
Kalus easily defeated his only Republican rival, Jonathan Riccitelli, who the Globe said had been arrested dozens of times since 2000 under a different name, on charges ranging from obstructing police to assault, records show. judicial.
Kalus, who owns a COVID-19 testing company that is in a dispute with the state over a canceled contract, moved to Rhode Island from Illinois last year and previously worked for the former governor. Illinois Republican Bruce Rauner. She said Rhode Island needs a fighter like her now more than ever as every day gets harder for working families.
In another high-profile race on Tuesday, voters were choosing candidates in the 2nd congressional district for the seat vacated by Democratic Representative Jim Langevin, who is retiring after more than 20 years representing the district. Langevin was the first quadriplegic to serve in Congress.
State Treasurer Seth Magaziner, who was endorsed by Langevin, won the crowded Democratic primary. Republican Allan Fung, the former mayor of Cranston, was unopposed in his bid for the Republican nomination. National Republican leaders believe this is their best chance to overthrow the siege in more than three decades. House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy visited Rhode Island in August to raise money for Fung.
Magaziner was running for governor but switched races after Langevin’s announcement to try to keep the seat under Democratic control. Magaziner told supporters on Tuesday night that the election is about values and preserving democracy for the next generation.
In the 1st Congressional District, Democratic US Representative David Cicilline will face Republican Allen Waters in November. Both were unopposed on Tuesday. Cicilline is seeking his seventh term.
But the best race in Rhode Island on Tuesday was the Democratic gubernatorial primary. McKee and Gorbea have both enjoyed their base of support and name recognition since they were both elected to statewide office in 2014. Foulkes has proven to be a follower fundraiser and spent heavily on the race when he first ran for public office.
At the end of the primary, Gorbea’s campaign ran an attack ad criticizing McKee over the awarding of a controversial state contract the FBI is currently investigating. He had to pull the ad because of errors, including an article by a conservative commentator who criticized McKee on another issue. McKee’s campaign said the governor will continue to rise above dirty politics and fake attacks, and show “leadership when it matters most.”
McKee has been endorsed by a host of major unions, including those representing teachers, firefighters, building trades and autoworkers. He highlighted his efforts to help the state’s economy recover from COVID-19, the gun control bills he signed into law, and his efforts to protect access to health care. abortion.
He had his own memorable commercial, called “motha”, featuring his 94-year-old mother. As he plays cards with her, he discusses the state’s economic recovery from COVID-19, the elimination of the state car tax, the creation of affordable housing, and the passage of gun safety laws to keep families safe.
“Not bad for a year and a half,” said the governor.
His mother, Willa, replies, “Not bad for a governor who lives with his motha.”
During his victory speech, McKee ticked off his accomplishments and asked the crowd, “Are you ready? He said, “Not bad for 18 months.” Laughing, some of her followers said Willa’s line: “Not bad for a governor who lives with his mother.”
Follow AP for full midterm election coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/2022-midterm-elections and on Twitter at https://twitter.com/ap_politics.
Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.