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R.I. Democrats running for Congress to debate Aug. 17

Sponsored by Rhode Island Association of Democratic City and Town Chairs, the debate is set for the week early voting begins, less than three weeks before the Sept. 5 primary

The Aug. 17 debate among Democratic congressional candidates will be held at Roger Williams University's Bristol campus.Photo courtesy of Roger Williams University

BRISTOL, R.I. — The public is invited to attend a debate of the Democratic candidates for First Congressional District at Roger Williams University on Aug. 17.

The Rhode Island Association of Democratic City and Town Chairs will sponsor the debate of Democratic candidates, scheduled for the week that early voting opens and less than three weeks before the Sept. 5 primary.

The debate will be moderated by Boston Globe reporters Edward Fitzpatrick and Steph Machado.

“With 12 candidates vying for the Democratic candidacy in the special election, the Rhode Island Association of Democratic City and Town Chairs is hosting this debate to help Rhode Island voters decide who they want to be on the general election ballot for First Congressional District in the US House of Representatives,” association President Tom Kane said. “In order to give the top-tier candidates adequate time to share their views and ideas, we selected the strongest-performing ... Democratic candidates to take part in the forum.”

Ten Democratic candidates will participate in the forum: Gabe Amo, former deputy director of the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs; Stephanie Beauté, senior program manager in the tech industry; Walter Berbrick, former Naval War College professor; Sandra Cano, state senator from Pawtucket; Stephen M. Casey, state representative from Woonsocket; Don Carlson, professor at Yale Law School; John Goncalves, Providence city councilor; Sabina Matos, lieutenant governor of Rhode Island; Ana Quezada, state senator from Providence; and J. Aaron Regunberg, former state representative from Providence.


Criteria used in the selection of candidates to participate included their commitment to the Democratic Party platform, fundraising totals, experience in elected office, and number of endorsements from organizations, advocacy groups and unions.

The three other Democratic candidates will be provided the opportunity to respond to questions posed by the moderators in writing and may be included in the Boston Globe’s coverage of the debate.


The Aug. 17 debate will be held 6 to 7:30 p.m. in the RWU Campus Recreation Center, 1 Old Ferry Road, in Bristol. Seating is limited and will be on a first-come, first-served basis. Guests must be in their seats by 5:30 p.m., and doors will close at 5:40 p.m.

For any questions or requests for special assistance to attend the event, contact the RWU Office of Special Events at or (401) 254-3166.

The forum will also be livestreamed on the Globe Rhode Island website.

Edward Fitzpatrick can be reached at Follow him @FitzProv.