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The other statewide offices on tomorrow’s R.I. ballot

Republican Aaron Guckian (left) and Democrat Sabina Matos (right) debated on WJAR in their race for lieutenant governor.WJAR

You already know about the race for governor and Rhode Island’s 2nd Congressional District.

But looking past Dan McKee, Ashley Kalus, Allan Fung, and Seth Magaziner, there are contested races for every statewide office and the US House in the 1st District.

These races have flown under the radar, so here’s a quick guide to who’s running for which office.


Republican Aaron Guckian

Democrat Sabina Matos (incumbent)

Independent Ross K. McCurdy

Overview: In the old days, like five minutes ago, we used to debate about the need for a lieutenant governor at all. But then McKee got bumped up to governor last year, and suddenly the candidates for this job want us to know that it could happen again at any moment (like if McKee becomes treasury secretary).


That hasn’t translated to actual voter interest, and this race is as low-profile as ever.

Matos, the incumbent, is still a favorite here after a better-than-expected performance in the Democratic primary. It’s hard to lose a statewide race in Rhode Island if you can run up the score in Providence, Pawtucket, and East Providence – and that’s what Matos is trying to do.

But Guckian has run a real campaign, criticizing Matos’ brief tenure as McKee’s No. 2 and her record as president of the Providence City Council. You can watch their most recent debate here.


Democrat James Diossa

Republican James Lathrop

Overview: No office in Rhode Island has become more of a stepping stone over the past 12 years, with current Treasurer Seth Magaziner now running for Congress, and former treasurers Gina Raimondo and Frank Caprio having run for governor to varying degrees of success (Raimondo won, Caprio lost).

Diossa has faced some criticism about his experience and decision to travel the world while he was mayor of tiny Central Falls, but he also dominated his Democratic primary opponent, who put up far more of a competitive fight than Lathrop has.


Lathrop, who has deep experience working in finance departments in several municipalities in Rhode Island and Connecticut, has a solid case to make to be treasurer. But it’s really difficult to win an under-the-radar statewide race with very little money. You can watch their most recent debate here.


Republican Charles Calenda

Democrat Peter Neronha (incumbent)

Overview: Neronha is the only person on the ballot who has actually won the seat he is seeking before, and he’s a heavy favorite heading into Tuesday. It won’t be long before you start hearing speculation about what Neronha wants to do next in politics because he’s term-limited in 2026.

Calenda, a former special assistant attorney general, has tried – primarily through talk radio – to gain attention in his first campaign for statewide office, but he hasn’t been able to gain momentum. You can watch their most recent candidate forum here.


Democrat Gregg Amore

Republican Pat Cortellessa

Overview: Cortellessa got trounced by Nellie Gorbea when he ran for the same job in 2018, and hasn’t run a competitive race this time around. Amore, a state representative from East Providence, faced little opposition in his Democratic primary and is already starting to garner buzz for governor down the line (as soon as 2026). The biggest question about this race is whether Amore can get to 70 percent. You can watch their most recent debate here.



Democrat David Cicilline (incumbent)

Republican Allen Waters

Overview: A decade ago, Cicilline was considered vulnerable heading into his first re-election bid in the 1st District as he faced former State Police colonel Brendan Doherty. Now Cicilline has one of the safest congressional seats in America, and his biggest challenges are likely to come from within his own party nationally as he tries to move up the ranks of leadership. It’s likely he’ll also be in the minority party as Republicans as expected to take back the House.

Waters hasn’t run a competitive race, and is likely to lose by a margin similar to his 33-point loss to US Senator Jack Reed in 2020. It is unclear if the candidates have participated in any forums together.

This story first appeared in Rhode Map, our free newsletter about Rhode Island that also contains information about local events, data about the coronavirus in the state, and more. If you’d like to receive it via e-mail Monday through Friday, you can sign up here.

Dan McGowan can be reached at Follow him @danmcgowan.