Fung and Raimondo Will Face Off Again For RI Governor, Lt. Governor Staves Off Progressive Challenge

Sep 12, 2018

On a rainy primary day, incumbent Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo secured her party's nomination for a second run for governor. Republican Allan Fung, of Cranston, did the same. And a significant number of progressive candidates won in Democratic primaries for General Assembly.

Former Secretary of State Matt Brown failed to gain enough traction to unseat incumbent Governor Gina Raimondo in the Democratic gubernatorial primary.
Credit John Bender

Raimondo, a Democrat, was largely expected to withstand a challenge from the left by former Secretary of State Matt Brown, and she did. With most preccincts reporting, unofficial results showed Raimondo with 57 percent of the vote, and Brown with just over 33 percent.

Raimondo secured crucial majorities in places like Providence's East Side, which was a key part of her support when she first won the governor's seat in 2014.

Like Raimondo, Fung scored a comfortable victory in the Republican gubernatorial primary. Unofficial tallies showed him with more than 56 percent of the vote. His closest competitor, state Rep. Patricia Morgan, had just over 40 percent.

Another closely watched race, the Democratic primary for lieutenant governor, remained too close to call until a little before midnight. The incumbent, Daniel McKee, eeked out a slim victory over progressive challenger Aaron Regenburg with 51 percent of the vote. But Regunberg, a Providence state representative, received 49 percent of the vote. 

Providence state Rep. Aaron Regunberg lost his bid for lieutenant governor by just 2 percentage points.
Credit John Bender

In conceeding to McKee, Regunberg said in a written statement that he would not stop fighting for workers' rights, gun control and other priorities for the progressive movement.

"We knew that this campaign was not going to be easy. We knew we were up against some powerful interests," Regunberg wrote. "But tonight, the people of Rhode Island sent a message that our movement, that our fight, that our voices cannot be ignored."

In what may be the most significant victory of the night, progressive candidates won in nearly every contested House and Senate primary where an insurgent ran against an establishment candidate. That included large margins of victory for progressive Democrats in Barrington, Bristol, Providence, East Providence and Johnston.

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza shakes the hand of a supporter on primary night. Elorza easily won the Democratic primary.
Credit Avory Brookins

In Providence's mayoral race, incumbent Democrat Jorge Elorza easily beat out two Democratic challengers, winning with 58 percent of the vote, according to the unofficial count. Elorza will face two independent candidates in the November election, although he is widely expected to win re-election.

This post has been updated.