PROVIDENCE — Democratic Lieutenant Governor Sabina Matos secured a full four-year term Tuesday, as Republican challenger Aaron Guckian conceded shortly before 10 p.m.
With 96 percent of precincts reporting, Matos had 51.2 percent of the vote and Guckian had 43.1 percent, according to unofficial results from the state Board of Elections. Independent Ross McCurdy had 5.5 percent.
Matos, a former Providence City Council president who was appointed lieutenant governor 20 months ago when Dan McKee became governor, will be the first Dominican-American to win statewide office in Rhode Island.
The race received little attention in the months leading up to Tuesday’s election, as Democrats and Republicans focused most of their energy on competitive races for governor and the 2nd Congressional District.
Matos, who easily won a three-way Democratic primary in September, was closely aligned with McKee ever since he handpicked her for the job in early 2021. She appeared by his side at press conferences, and has made affordable housing one of her top priorities since she was sworn in.
Guckian, who left his job at the Rhode Island Foundation to run for lieutenant governor, is a former banker and aide to the state’s last Republican governor, Don Carcieri. On the campaign trail, he criticized Matos for saying in 2020 that she supported defunding the police (she never faced a vote where this was an option).
Policy discussions are rare in down-ticket races, but the lieutenant governor’s office gained new prominence when McKee, the former lieutenant governor, replaced Gina Raimondo after she became President Joe Biden’s secretary of commerce.
Both candidates have argued that they’re ready to be governor, with Matos highlighting her long record in city politics (she was elected three times) and her experience over the last 20 months, and Guckian arguing that his time working in finance shows he can handle the breadth of the office.
Matos would be the second Latino, and first Dominican-American, to hold statewide office in Rhode Island. Guckian would be the first Republican to be lieutenant governor since Bernard Jackvony was appointed to the job in 1997. No GOP candidate has won a four-year term since Joseph O’Donnell in 1966.