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2022 Rhode Island primaries: results, news, and analysis

Rhode Island Gov. Dan McKee gives an acceptance speech in front of supporters at a primary election night watch party in Providence, R.I., Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2022.David Goldman/Associated Press

Rhode Island voters braved the fog and rain to head to the polls Tuesday in a primary election that featured competitive Democratic races for governor, treasurer, and Providence mayor, as well as a 2nd Congressional District race with national implications. Here are all of the results, as well as news and analysis from Globe Rhode Island.

Results from every 2022 R.I. primary race

Who won by how much? Which races were uncontested? What happened in which district? Take a look at race-by-race results from every district in Rhode Island.

The Rhode Island State House.Edward Fitzpatrick

R.I. primaries renew interest in ranked-choice voting

Tuesday’s primary elections are sparking renewed interest in bringing ranked-choice voting to Rhode Island.

While the idea has been proposed before, it is gaining fresh momentum now that candidates have won primaries for two key positions — Rhode Island governor and Providence mayor — without securing a majority of the vote.


Earlier this year, Representative Rebecca Kislak, a Providence Democrat, introduced a bill that would have created an instant runoff form of ranked-choice voting limited to General Assembly primaries with three or more candidates. The bill died in committee during the legislative session that ended in June.

But on Thursday, Kislak said she plans to reintroduce a ranked-choice election bill after the General Assembly reconvenes in January. Read more...

Podcast | P.C. professor analyzes Tuesday’s primaries and talk of ranked-choice voting

On the Rhode Island Report podcast, Providence College political science Professor Adam S. Myers analyzed Tuesday’s key primaries and provided some insight about the possibility of an electoral system in which voters rank candidates by preference on their ballots.

“I think that discussion has already started,” Myers said. “We now have the Democratic nominee for governor winning that nomination with 33 percent of the vote — far, far below a majority. A majority of Democratic voters did not support him yesterday. And I do think this raises serious questions about, well, if we’re in a democratic political system where majority rules, how can we have this?” Read more...


R.I. Board of Elections receives nine recount requests following Tuesday’s primaries

The Rhode Island Board of Elections will meet on Monday to consider recount requests in nine of Tuesday’s primaries: three General Assembly races and six Providence City Council contests.

The board will meet at 9:30 a.m. Monday to consider the requests. The board plans to complete the recounts that day, and it will meet again on Tuesday to certify final primary election results. Read more...

Foulkes campaign called during McKee’s victory speech on live TV. ‘Hang up on them,’ he said.

Early efforts to put a contentious end of the campaign in the past and coalesce around the winner of the Democratic gubernatorial primary got off to an awkward start on Tuesday night when Helena Foulkes’ campaign tried to call the winner, Governor Dan McKee, to concede while he was making his victory speech.

The moment was captured by television cameras.

“Helena wants to talk to you,” Eva-Marie Mancuso, a McKee aide, said.

McKee looked confused at first, then annoyed.

“No, that’s not going to happen,” he said. It appeared she was handing a phone to him. “Eva, that’s not going to happen. Eva, hang up on them.” Read more...

Column | Governor Dan McKee’s winning playbook in Rhode Island

There’s a good chance that Governor Dan McKee doesn’t know who DJ Khaled is, Dan McGowan writes, but if he manages to defeat Republican Ashley Kalus in the general election, he might want to adopt “All I Do Is Win” as his inauguration theme song.

In each case, McKee has won by running steady campaigns that accentuate his strengths (like his support among mayors across the Blackstone Valley, and somewhat surprisingly, in the cities) while hiding some of the flaws (like public speaking) that might ordinarily derail a politician. Read more...


McKee edges Foulkes in R.I. Democratic gubernatorial primary

Rhode Island Gov. Dan McKee is interviewed after giving an acceptance speech at a primary election night watch party in Providence, R.I., Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2022. David Goldman/Associated Press

Governor Daniel J. McKee pulled off a narrow victory over former CVS executive Helena Buonanno Foulkes on Tuesday night in the Democratic primary for governor.

With 98 percent of polling places reporting, McKee had 32.8 percent of the vote while Foulkes had 30.1 percent.

Secretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea, who been in or near the lead in earlier voting, had 26.1 percent after a brutal last few weeks on the campaign trail. Former secretary of state Matt Brown had 7.9 percent, followed by Dr. Luis Daniel Muñoz with 3.1 percent.

The final results were delayed in part because McKee’s hometown of Cumberland had trouble transmitting results, so memory sticks had to be delivered to the Board of Elections, spokesman Christopher Hunter said.

The winner of the Democratic primary faces Republican Ashley Kalus in the Nov. 8 general election. Kalus, a healthcare executive, trounced Jonathan Riccitelli in the GOP primary. With 91 percent of polling places reporting, she had 83.6 percent of the vote to Riccitelli’s 16.4 percent. Read more...

Smiley wins Democratic primary for Providence mayor

Brett Smiley, a former top adviser to Governor Gina Raimondo and Mayor Jorge Elorza, won the Democratic primary for Providence mayor Tuesday, defeating Gonzalo Cuervo and Councilwoman Nirva LaFortune.

With 98 percent of precincts reporting, Smiley had 41.9 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results from the state Board of Elections.


Because there is no Republican or independent candidate, Smiley is all but guaranteed to succeed Elorza, the outgoing Democratic mayor who is term-limited. Read more...

Top R.I. legislative leaders withstand challenges from progressives

A voter leaves after casting a ballot in the state's primary election at the historic Casino function hall at Roger Williams Park in Providence, R.I., Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2022. David Goldman/Associated Press

House Speaker K. Joseph Shekarchi and Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio both fended off challenges in Tuesday’s Democratic primaries, heading off any immediate seismic shifts atop the General Assembly power structure.

Shekarchi, a Warwick Democrat, trounced Jacqueline Anderson, who was backed by the Rhode Island Political Cooperative, receiving 69.6 percent of the vote in House District 23.

And Ruggerio, a North Providence Democrat, again beat back a challenge from Lenny Cioe, who also is backed by the Political Cooperative, and Stephen G. Tocco, in Senate District 4. Ruggerio had 59.3 percent of the vote, to Cioe’s 34.8 percent and Tocco’s 6 percent. Read more...

Matos wins Democratic primary for R.I. lieutenant governor

Rhode Island Gov. Dan McKee, left, and Lt. Gov. Sabina Matos, greet supporters at a primary election night watch party in Providence, R.I., Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2022. (AP Photo/David Goldman)David Goldman/Associated Press

Incumbent Lieutenant Governor Sabina Matos has won the Democratic primary for the state’s No. 2 job, defeating state Representative Deb Ruggiero and state Senator Cynthia Mendes.

With 95 percent of polling places reporting, Matos had 47 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results from the state Board of Elections.

Matos advances to the Nov. 8 general election to face Republican primary winner Aaron Guckian. Read more...

Diossa wins Democratic primary for R.I. treasurer

Former Central Falls Mayor James Diossa won the Democratic nomination for state treasurer Tuesday, besting former state commerce secretary Stefan Pryor in a hotly contested race that saw the two candidates trade barbs over each other’s qualifications over the last month.


With 98 percent of the polling places reporting, Diossa had 55 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results from the state Board of Elections.

Diossa advances to the Nov. 8 general election to face Republican James Lathrop, a municipal finance expert. The winner will succeed term-limited treasurer Seth Magaziner, a Democrat who is running for Congress in Rhode Island 2nd District. Read more...

Magaziner sweeps to victory in R.I.’s 2nd Congressional District primary

FILE - Rhode Island General Treasurer Seth Magaziner is photographed in his office in Providence, R.I., Monday, Feb. 7, 2022. Magaziner, a Democrat, says that instead of running for governor as he had previously announced, he would instead seek the state's seat in Congress being vacated by U.S. Rep. Jim Langevin. (AP Photo/David Goldman, File)David Goldman/Associated Press

General Treasurer Seth Magaziner on Tuesday scored a convincing win in the Democratic primary for the 2nd Congressional District seat the US Democratic US Representative James R. Langevin is vacating after 22 years in office.

Magaziner held a commanding lead, with 54.2 percent of the vote, far ahead of David A. Segal at 15.8 percent, Sarah E. Morgenthau at 12.1 percent, Joy Fox at 11 percent, Omar Bah at 4.6 percent, and Spencer E. Dickson at 2.3 percent. Those total reflected 90 percent of polling places including early voting and mail ballots.

The victory sets up a high-profile matchup between Magaziner and Allan W. Fung, a Republican former Cranston mayor who gives the GOP its best chance to flip a seat that has been in Democratic hands since 1991. Read more...

The big races to watch in Rhode Island

It’s finally primary day (some candidates have literally been waiting eight years for this day), and there are plenty of matchups to watch. Polling places opened at 7 a.m., and they’ll close at 8 p.m.

The Globe will have all of the results and plenty of analysis tonight, but here’s a primer on some of the key storylines we’re following. Read more...

Foulkes counts on new momentum

Candidate Helena Foulkes. Glenn Osmundson for The Boston Globe.

PROVIDENCE – If she wins Tuesday, Helena Foulkes will go from relative unknown to the Democratic Party’s standard-bearer in the November gubernatorial election.

She’ll have done it with a torrid last few days of a campaign that had been otherwise pretty sleepy – boosted by widely lauded debate performances and surrogates like Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza, who accompanied her in a drizzle to meet voters outside the Juanita Sanchez Educational Complex. (She’s also raised and spent a lot of campaign money.)

”In the last two weeks, the momentum completely changed,” Foulkes said.

Foulkes faces Governor Dan McKee, Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea, former secretary of state Matt Brown, and Dr. Luis Daniel Munoz in the primary. The winner will face the winner of the Republican primary between businesswoman Ashley Kalus – the overwhelming favorite – and Jonathan Riccitelli.

As they stood in the parking lot of the school, Elorza stopped voters to pitch Foulkes to them, in Spanish. He got a thumbs-up in return. Things have been going like that in the city all day, Elorza said.

”There’s a buzz,” Elorza said. “There’s definitely a buzz.”

Foulkes, a former CVS executive who lives in Narragansett, said once voters got a chance to see her in unscripted moments, her campaign took off.

”The status quo isn’t working for people,” Foulkes said. “We need someone in the State House who is going to work for the people of Rhode Island and not be beholden to others.”

— Brian Amaral, Globe Staff

Gorbea makes final push in ‘marathon’ primary campaign

Democratic challenger for Rhode Island governor, Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea, speaks during a gubernatorial election forum hosted by the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce in Warwick, R.I., Thursday, Sept. 8, 2022.David Goldman/Associated Press

EAST PROVIDENCE – Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea visited Rumford Towers on Tuesday afternoon as voters went to the polls in what the Democratic gubernatorial hopeful called the end of a marathon, not a sprint.

”We’ve been doing really well in this marathon,” she said, flanked by some of the union supporters she’s counting on to get her over the finish line. She added later: “Mine is not just a candidacy of the here and now.”

Early voting started last month. Polls close at 8 p.m. Tuesday.

Gorbea is on the ballot with Gov. Dan McKee, former CVS executive Helena Foulkes, former Secretary of State Matt Brown, and Dr. Luis Daniel Munoz. The winner will go on to the November general election, with Republican Ashley Kalus expected to win the GOP nod.

Gorbea’s final pitch to voters?

”I’m ready to go on day one, to turn this economy into one that’s more equitable,” Gorbea said. “And just because I know how to fix the housing crisis that our state is facing, and how to make sure that every child has a quality education, and how to make a renewable energy economy.”

Domenic Pontarelli was among the supporters for Gorbea outside the Rumford Towers polling place. An East Providence resident, he is the secretary-treasurer of the UFCW Local 328, which came out to support Gorbea. Other unions have gone to McKee, but the UFCW, which represents thousands of people in the food industry – its biggest employer is Stop & Shop – said Gorbea represents their values.

”She connects with voters, and she connects with people,” Pontarelli said. “I don’t think the governor does – he does not connect with people and voters.”

— Brian Amaral, Globe Staff

Network of mayors lines up to boost McKee

EAST PROVIDENCE – Going into her polling place in Rumford on Tuesday around noon, Helen Walsh wasn’t sure who she was going to vote for for governor in the Democratic primary.

But as she approached Myron J. Francis Elementary School, she met someone she’d never met before, introduced by a man she’s known for awhile. Governor Dan McKee introduced himself, and then, with a nudge from East Providence Mayor Bob DaSilva, won her vote.

”He was here,” Walsh explained.

Also, DaSilva’s endorsement helped, Walsh said. “I’m a brand loyalist,” she said with a laugh.

If McKee prevails in Tuesday’s Democratic primary to go on to the general election for a full term in office, it’ll be in some part because of the forces on display outside Myron Francis on this soggy Tuesday. DaSilva is part of a network of mayors that have lined up behind McKee, a former Cumberland mayor who also has the support of unions like the National Education Association Rhode Island and the Rhode Island AFL-CIO. Leaders of both those unions were on hand Tuesday, holding signs, helping make McKee’s case.

”Let’s keep the momentum going,” McKee said when asked about his final pitch to voters, citing the state’s high vaccination rates and historically low unemployment. “We’ve got momentum, and we want to build on that.”

McKee is on the ballot against Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea, former CVS executive Helena Foulkes, former Secretary of State Matt Brown, and Dr. Luis Daniel Muñoz.

DaSilva, who is also up for re-election in the city’s nonpartisan preliminary election Tuesday, said McKee has earned the vote of Townies and all Rhode Islanders.

”He’s proven he took over the state at a time when it needed true leadership,” DaSilva said.

— Brian Amaral, Globe Staff

Even before votes are counted, Democratic ad attacks R.I. GOP gubernatorial candidate Kalus

Republican candidate for RI governor Ashley Kalus greats campagn mgr Matt Hanrahan outside the Western Hills Middle School polling location Tuesday Ryan T. Conaty/Ryan T. Conaty for the Boston Gl

Rhode Island Democrats have yet to pick their nominee for governor, but a group backed by the Democratic Governors Association has already launched an ad attacking the presumed Republican candidate, Ashley Kalus.

“Republican Ashley Kalus recently moved to Rhode Island,” the ad says. “It shows.”

The ad was paid for by Alliance for a Better Rhode Island, a political action committee funded by the Democratic Governors Association, which pumped $350,000 into the PAC on the eve of the primaries. Read more...

What’s at stake in Rhode Island’s upcoming political primaries?

Progressive Democrats are unlikely to “win the whole [expletive] State House” — the goal set by gubernatorial candidate Matt Brown in his campaign kickoff video one year ago.

Polls show Brown running fourth in Tuesday’s Democratic gubernatorial primary. And after talking about fielding 50 candidates, the Rhode Island Political Cooperative ended up with 29 candidates on the ballot, including 27 General Assembly candidates.

But progressive activists say they are expecting to gain ground in Tuesday’s General Assembly primaries, building on their gains in the House and Senate during the 2018 and 2020 elections cycles. And seismic changes could occur if House Speaker K. Joseph Shekarchi or Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio get knocked off in their districts. Read more....

Voter turnout updates from the office of the Secretary of State

In R.I., new pattern of voting methods taking shape

As Rhode Islanders head to the polls today, they are beginning to settle into a new pattern of voting that mixes mail ballots and early voting with the tradition of showing up at the polls on election day.

Before the polls opened this morning, nearly 28,000 residents had already voted with mail ballots or in early voting, representing a turnout of 3.5 percent. Read more...

A long-shot GOP candidate for R.I. governor has criminal record under different name

Jonathan Riccitelli, a long-shot candidate in the Tuesday Republican primary for governor whose campaign includes a pledge to “REFUND the police,” has been arrested and admitted to criminal offenses ranging from obstructing police officers to assault, according to court records. Those records are under a different name.

Riccitelli, 40, has a criminal record in Rhode Island associated with the name Jonathan Tefft, from 2000, shortly after he became an adult and was charged the first time with simple assault, until 2019, when he was charged by North Kingstown police with providing false information to 911. He’s been charged by at least five Rhode Island police departments with obstructing police over the years, according to court records. Read more...

A day before R.I. primary, two former top health officials send anti-McKee messages

On the eve of Tuesday’s Democratic gubernatorial primary, two former top state Department of Health officials are weighing in with clear votes of no confidence in Governor Daniel J. McKee.

Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott — the former Department of Health director who was a fixture in daily pandemic updates alongside former Governor Gina M. Raimondo — endorsed former CVS executive Helena Buonanno Foulkes in the gubernatorial primary against McKee. Soon after, Tom McCarthy, the former deputy director of the Department of Health, weighed in with a tweet blasting McKee’s leadership during the pandemic. Read more...

Attack ad aimed at boosting Gorbea draws fresh fire

In the days before the Democratic primary for governor, the Latino Victory Fund launched an ad aimed at boosting Secretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea and blasting her opponents.

But as Tuesday’s primary approaches, the attack ad is drawing fresh attacks from Gorbea’s rivals while also receiving criticism from government watchdogs.

John M. Marion, executive director Common Cause Rhode Island, on Friday said his organization is considering filing a complaint with the state Board of Elections over the ad, which is titled “Who’s Worse?” Read more....

R.I. Board of Elections will not pull voting machines that had problems

The state Board of Elections won’t heed Providence Mayor Jorge O. Elorza’s call to remove ExpressVote ballot marking machines on the eve of Tuesday’s primaries because the board says that would leave Rhode Islanders with disabilities with no accessible voting method.

On Friday, Elorza called for pulling out the ExpressVote machines because of a series of problems that arose with the Spanish-language version of the ballot during early voting.

But the American Civil Liberties Union of Rhode Island and Common Cause Rhode Island warned that removing the machines, which let voters choose candidates on a touch-screen or by using a remote, would violate state and federal law, including the Americans with Disabilities Act. Read more...

R.I. Board of Elections calls for new protocols after ballot problems

The state Board of Elections on Wednesday voted to create a written protocol for ballot verification after a series of mishaps involving new Spanish-language ballot machines.

The new touch-screen ballot machines for voting in Spanish erroneously displayed some 2018 candidates during this year’s early voting, and Providence mayoral candidate Gonzalo Cuervo’s name was misspelled as “Gonzolo.”

“There needs to be a written protocol so that everyone is aware of it and the public is aware of it, as well,” Board of Elections member Louis A. DeSimone Jr. said Sept. 7. Read more...