With the state gubernatorial primaries about a year away, political season in Rhode Island has officially begun. We know that the Democratic candidates include State Treasurer Seth Magaziner, Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea, and former Secretary of
With the state gubernatorial primaries about a year away, political season in Rhode Island has officially begun.
We know that the Democratic candidates include State Treasurer Seth Magaziner, Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea, and former Secretary of State Matt Brown, who announced last week. While he hasn’t officially announced, it is all but confirmed that Gov. Dan McKee will seek re-election from his position of incumbency. Activist and former gubernatorial Democratic primary candidate Dr. Luis Muoz has also thrown his hat in. Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza is not running for governor.
As you may expect in deep-blue Rhode Island, especially since the Republicans have no established front-running candidate, the Democratic field is where most attention will focus as campaigning kicks into high gear throughout the next year.
That field is a diverse one already. You have high-office veterans in the East Bay native Magaziner – who will repeatedly, and we would argue rightfully, tout his work getting a billion dollars in sorely-needed school capital construction funding available to the states municipalities – and Gorbea, a champion of the state’s Hispanic population who will herald the hard work done to hold a secure and successful election amidst a global health crisis.
Many progressives will find their champion in the RI Political Cooperative-backed Matt Brown, who trumpets many of the same pro-people, anti-government-corruption sentiments that catapulted Sen. Bernie Sanders twice to nearly becoming the Democratic nominee for president, and resulted in a slew of victories for lesser-known challengers over favored moderate incumbents in the Rhode Island legislature in 2020. He has joined forces with Sen. Cynthia Mendes, a fellow progressive who upset the Senates Finance Committee chairman in 2020.
Indeed, with such an array of candidates from across the political spectrum, the field may become so split that receiving only a quarter of the total votes may be necessary to secure the nomination. Such situations usually favor the incumbent, who will always have the most media attention and name recognition. But it will remain to be seen if Gov. McKee can accomplish enough during his remaining months in office to convince voters he is worthy of another four years in office.
The 2022 race will become an intriguing referendum of Rhode Island voters and where their priorities reside. Will citizens be satisfied with how Gov. McKee has taken the reins and handled the latter stages of COVID, or condemn him for scandalous headlines involving the resignation of one of his top aides and awarding lucrative contracts to consulting firms composed of his allies? Will the progressives gain more ground on the moderate majority in the State House, or even grab the top office in the state?
One thing can be sure – to make any pronounced predictions at this point would be foolish. Buckle up and enjoy the ride.
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