First term Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) looked to be in a vulnerable position as she began seeking a second term, but a new University of New Hampshire poll (9/27-10/6; 561 RI registered voters; 503 likely voters) finds the Governor leading Cranston Mayor Allan Fung (R) by a substantial 48-34% margin. On the other hand, the UNH polls have routinely been among the most inaccurate within the public polling sector. Therefore, this race could still be relatively close. It is evident that Ms. Raimondo is leading the campaign, whatever the margin, and must be considered at least a slight favorite for re-election.
In 2014, then-state Treasurer Gina Raimondo (D) won a tight 41-36-21% victory over Cranston Mayor Allan Fung (R) and Independent Bob Healey to become Rhode Island’s governor. A new WPRI 12 News/Roger Williams University survey (7/28-31; 407 RI likely general election voters) finds the Governor leading Mr. Fung by only a 39-37% margin for the 2018 re-match.
Both individuals face credible primary opposition in the late September 12th primary election, so the two again facing each other in November is not guaranteed. Still, it appears that this gubernatorial campaign will see many twists and turns before voters finally decide who will lead the state during the next four years.
Cranston Mayor Allan Fung, who lost the 2014 Governor’s race to then-state Treasurer Gina Raimondo (D) in a close 41-36% vote with Independent Bob Healey capturing over 21%, is again challenging for the Republican gubernatorial nomination.
Yesterday, Mr. Fung’s campaign released the results of their latest Public Opinion Strategies survey (7/11-14; 400 RI likely Republican primary voters) and projects their candidate to a huge GOP primary lead over state House Minority Leader Patricia Morgan, 62-22%. Ms. Morgan claims the results are so lopsided because the survey was a “push poll”, designed to test an extreme situation. It will take some time to determine who is correct. The Rhode Island statewide primary is not scheduled until September 12th.
Now that the Rhode Island candidate filing deadline has passed, 48 of the 50 states have their political fields set for November. Only Louisiana and Delaware, which set respective filing deadlines of July 10th and July 20th, remain outstanding.
Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) stands for a second term, and unfavorable job approval ratings, only winning with a plurality in 2014, and a stiff Democratic primary challenge places her re-election prospects in questionable status.
Her opponents include former Secretary of State Matt Brown, who is her serious Democratic primary challenger, and ex-state Rep. Spencer Dickinson. Once coming through the September 12th Democratic primary, the nominee will likely face 2014 nominee Allan Fung, the Cranston Mayor who held Raimondo to a 41-36% win four years ago. State House Minority Leader Patricia Morgan (R-West Warwick) and former state Sen. Giovanni Feroce round out the Republican field. Five individuals are running as Independents or minor party candidates.
The Rhode Island Governor’s race looks to be much more competitive than one would expect from such a strong Democratic state, but the New England states have a penchant for electing Republican Governors. Despite only one Republican being elected to the House from all six states along with one US Senator (both from Maine), four domains have sitting GOP Governors. Additionally, three of Rhode Island’s last six Governors have also been Republicans.
Late last month, former Rhode Island Senator and Governor Lincoln Chafee (R/I/D) indicated he was considering challenging Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse in this year’s Democratic primary. After polls were published showing the Senator crushing Mr. Chafee, he began saying less publicly. Now, according to his announcement yesterday, the former statewide office holder says he will not run for any office this year. After the polling went public, it became obvious that Mr. Chafee would end his fledgling quest for a 2018 political comeback before it even officially began.
A couple of weeks ago, former Governor and US Senator Lincoln Chafee (R/I/D) floated the idea that he might challenge Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse in this year’s Democratic primary. Yesterday, Sen. Whitehouse’s campaign released the results of their Anzalone Liszt Grove Research internal poll (5/7-14; 801 RI likely general election voters with an over-sample of 101 likely Democratic primary voters making the total primary sample size 329). According to the data, Sen. Whitehouse would defeat Mr. Chafee in a landslide, 72-14%. Within the polling sample, Sen. Whitehouse’s favorability index is 79:10% positive to negative as opposed to Mr. Chafee’s, 32:46%. Mr. Chafee has yet to announce definitively that he will run.
Former Governor and US Senator Lincoln Chafee, who served in Washington as a Republican, was elected Governor as an Independent, and then switched to the Democrats, says he is “90% sure” he will return to active campaigning this year. Mr. Chafee said yesterday he plans to challenge Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D) in the Democratic primary and will run as the Bernie Sanders candidate.
Sen. Whitehouse unseated then-Sen. Chafee in the 2006 general election. After losing, he returned to run for Governor in 2010, but as an Independent, and was able to win a three-way general election with just 36% of the vote. Faced with poor approval ratings and staring at defeat both in the 2014 Democratic primary and in the general election as an Independent, Gov. Chafee chose not to seek a second term in office.
In addition to former Senator Lincoln Chafee potentially challenging Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse in the Democratic primary, Gov. Gina Raimondo, suffering from poor approval ratings, is also drawing a Democratic primary challenge it was learned yesterday.
Former Secretary of State Matt Brown, who was indicating he would enter the Governor’s race as an Independent, changed course and announced yesterday that he will challenge the first term Governor in the Democratic primary. Therefore, with challenges to both Whitehouse and Raimondo on the political horizon, the September 12th Democratic primary is unfolding as a major electoral contest.
Polling is suggesting that first-term Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) is facing a more difficult re-election campaign than a Rhode Island Democratic incumbent should expect. Cranston Mayor Allan Fung (R), who lost to Raimondo, 41-36% in 2014, looks to be drawing even closer in the early going of what is likely to be a re-match campaign. Yesterday, Gov. Raimondo’s re-election path may have gotten even a bit rockier.
Former Democratic Secretary of State Matt Brown has filed papers to run for Governor, and may do so as an Independent. Considering Mr. Brown still may have some semblance of a political base within the Democratic Party, running as an Independent would draw some votes away from Raimondo and could help put her in serious political jeopardy, ironically in one of the country’s strongest Democratic states. This is a developing story.
Yesterday, former state Rep. Joe Trillo, the 2016 Rhode Island state chairman for President Trump, announced that he will enter next year’s Governor’s race as an Independent. Immediately, Republican Party officials called on Trillo, a former Republican National Committee member, to change his mind arguing that such a three-way race would allow Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) to be re-elected without attracting a majority vote since the conservative/Republican constituency would be split. Gov. Raimondo’s job approval ratings are upside down and former gubernatorial nominee and Cranston Mayor Allan Fung (R) was thought to have a legitimate chance of carrying the heavily Democratic state. Expect further Republican efforts to convince Trillo to drop his newly announced campaign.
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