WASHINGTON -- A crowded field of candidates will be on the ballot in Rhode Island on Tuesday with an eye on replacing former U.S. Rep. David Cicilline, the seven-term Democrat who resigned in May to run a nonprofit foundation.
Among the 11 candidates competing in the special primary for the Democratic nomination are former Obama and Biden White House aide Gabriel Amo, state Sen. Sandra Cano, Lt. Gov. Sabina Matos and former state Rep. Aaron Regunberg. A 12th candidate, Don Carlson, suspended his campaign in late August after admitting he made a romantic overture to a student while he was a professor at Williams College. Carlson will remain on the ballot but has endorsed Cano.
Regunberg leads the field in fundraising, bringing in nearly $630,000 in contributions and the largest war chest heading into the campaign's final three weeks. Amo was a close second in fundraising with $604,000 in contributions, followed by Matos, who raised $558,000. Cano ranked a distant fourth.
Matos faced a controversy earlier this summer over alleged fraudulent signatures on nomination papers submitted by her campaign to elections officials, but the state Board of Elections said in August that its review found "no obvious pattern of fraud."
On the Republican side, former Middletown Town Councilwoman Terri Flynn faces off against Gerry Leonard, a retired U.S. Marine colonel who served in Iraq and Afghanistan and has the endorsement of the state party.
The district has voted reliably for Democrats. Cicilline was first elected in 2010 and won his last five reelection bids with 60% of the vote or higher. Democrat Patrick Kennedy previously held the seat for 16 years.
Also on the Tuesday ballot is a special state Senate primary to complete the term of Maryellen Goodwin, the chamber's majority whip until her death in April. Vying for the Democratic nomination are state Rep. Nathan Biah; Jacob Bissaillon, chief of staff to the state Senate president; Mario Mancebo; and social worker and Afghanistan War veteran Michelle Rivera.
The winner will advance to the Nov. 7 special general election and face Niyoka Powell, who is unopposed for the Republican nomination.
As of Aug. 1, there were almost 715,000 active voters registered in Rhode Island, according to state records. Of those, about 331,000 are independent or unaffiliated (46%), 285,000 are Democrats (40%) and 98,000 are Republicans (14%). Turnout for the 2022 primary for governor was 14% for Democrats and 3% for Republicans. In the 2020 presidential primaries, voter turnout was 13% for Democrats and 3% for Republicans.
As of Thursday, a total of 8,956 Rhode Island voters had cast ballots before Election Day. Democrats cast nearly 8,200 advance votes, 44% by mail and 56% cast early in person. Republicans cast 779 advance votes, 38% by mail and 62% early in person.
UTAH SPECIAL GOP PRIMARY
Three Republicans will compete in a special primary election in Utah this week for their party's nomination to replace U.S. Rep. Chris Stewart, the six-term GOP lawmaker who will step down on Sept. 15.
Vying for the nomination on Tuesday are former state representative Becky Edwards, businessman and former state party chairman Bruce Hough, and attorney and former Stewart aide Celeste Maloy. Delegates at the party's special district convention in June preferred Maloy over Edwards, Hough and others, but Edwards and Hough both collected enough signatures to qualify for the ballot and force a vote in Tuesday's special primary. Hough is the father of professional dancers Julianne and Derek Hough from the reality competition show "Dancing with the Stars."
Edwards has led the field in fundraising, bringing in $379,000 in contributions while loaning herself an additional $300,000 from personal funds. Maloy outraised Hough in contributions, but Hough loaned his campaign more than $334,000. Edwards more than doubled both Maloy's and Hough's spending power heading into the final three weeks of the campaign.
Maloy and Hough debated in early August, showing relatively little daylight between them on key issues. Edwards skipped the event.
Tuesday's winner will face Democrat Kathleen Riebe in a special general election on Nov. 21. Riebe won her party's nomination at a district convention in June.
The state's congressional district boundaries face an ongoing court challenge, but the 2nd Congressional District, which has been reliably Republican, covers much of the same area in Western and Southwest Utah as it has since before Stewart took office. Stewart won five of his six elections with at least 59% of the vote.
As of last Monday, there were almost 1.7 million active voters registered in Utah, according to state records. Of those, about 879,000 are Republicans (53%), 232,000 are Democrats (14%), 469,000 are independent or unaffiliated (28%) and the remaining (6%) belong to various third parties. Turnout for the 2022 GOP primary for U.S. Senate was 22%. In the 2020 presidential primaries, voter turnout was 20% for Republicans and 13% for Democrats.
Elections in Utah are conducted predominantly by mail, although voters have the option of voting in person on Election Day. Mail ballots may be received by Sept. 19 but must be postmarked by Tuesday.
As of Thursday, a total of 50,419 votes had been cast before Election Day, mostly from Republicans (87%) with the balance from Democrats (5%) and independents and members of third parties (8%).
Information for this article was contributed by Robert Yoon of The Associated Press.