Rhode Island primary
Note that Rhode Island has primaries that are open to unaffiliated voters, which means that if you are registered with a party, you have to vote in their primary, but if you are not registered with any party, you can choose which primary to vote in. Also please note that voting is on a Wednesday in Rhode Island this year, rather than Tuesday.
Below are candidates from our BKAS series that have progressive values. In general, the list contains candidates who have Bernie-like positions – Medicare-for-All, increased minimum wage, getting money out of politics, free college tuition, etc. However, not every candidate may support every position Bernie has. If you don’t know the candidate, check out their linked webpage. If you are not comfortable voting for any of these candidates, you can find others running in these races listed on the Green Papers or Ballotpedia for US Senate, Ballotpedia for US House or Ballotpedia for Governor.
Starting in mid 2017, I began doing the Better Know a State (BKAS) series describing candidates for various offices in each state. I started alphabetically (Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, etc.), but then realized I probably should do them in order of their primaries. So, I switched to that system. It happens that New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Louisiana have the latest primaries of all the states. So, they were the last three states to be finished for the BKAS. As it turns out, I didn’t manage to finish those 3 BKAS posts before I got overwhelmed with actual primaries where I had to post voting recommendations. All this is simply to say that I have not completed a BKAS post on Rhode Island.
The current Governor, Gina Raimondo, is running for re-election. She is being challenged by Spencer Dickinson, who supports universal healthcare and getting big money out of politics, and Matt Brown, who supports Medicare-for-All, reversing cuts to Medicaid, $ 15/hr minimum wage, union rights, 100% renewable energy in Rhode Island by 2035, etc. I think both Dickinson and Brown are better than Raimondo. Also, note that Matt Brown is endorsed by Our Revolution and is a Justice Democrat candidate. There is also a candidate of the Compassion Party, Anne Armstrong.
The incumbent David McKee is running again. Aaron Regunberg (Justice Democrat and endorsed by Our Revolution) is more progressive and supports Medicare-for-All, paid sick leave, fighting climate change, etc.
US Senator: Incumbent Senator, Sheldon Whitehouse, is very progressive and signed on as a co-sponsor of Bernie’s Medicare-for-All bill (S.1804). He does have one challenger, Pat Fontes, an activist for peace and environmental causes. She says she’s running for Congress “to find out what happens when a first-time senator tries to promote legislation which would benefit most Americans”. I think she would promote progressive policies, though her website is a bit skimpy.
RI-01: Incumbent David Cicilline is a fairly progressive Democrat and a member of the Medicare-for-All Congress. He’s a member of the Anti-Trust Caucus in Congress and he favors net neutrality. He has an opponent Chris Young, who is something of a perennial candidate. Young seems to support the ability to discharge student debt and raising the cap on Social Security, though I found his policy positions page to be a little difficult to understand.
RI-02: Incumbent Jim Langevin is pretty conservative for a Democrat. He was a late co-sponsor of HR 676 (Conyers’ Medicare-for-All bill), only signing on about 7 months after the fill had come out. And he has not joined the Medicare-for-All caucus. His only opponent is Republican Sal Calozzo.
Secretary of State:
There is only one Democratic candidate, current Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea. She talks about elections and cybersecurity on her website. Rhode Island state law calls for risk-limiting audits of elections, which minimizes the chances for tampering with the vote.
The current Attorney General cannot run again, due to term limits. There is only one Democratic candidate, Peter Neronha. His website discusses gun safety, environmental issues, public integrity and crime. His opponent from the Compassion Party, Alan Gordon, has filed a complaint to the Democratic Party about Neronha’s candidacy, because Neronha is covered by still-binding federal security clearances and related non-disclosure agreements from his time at the Department of Justice. Gordon states that these agreements will impair Neronha’s ability to prosecute certain cases. Gordon’s website talks about child trafficking and it appears he wants to fight that. But it does not give any information about his background or other policy positions.
Also, here are Ballotpedia links for other State-level races. I haven’t had time to research these candidates, so you’ll have to do your own research on them.
Endorsed by Our Revolution
District 5 – Sam Bell
District 30 – Jeanine Calkin
You may want to read this article about progressive RI State Representatives before making your choices in state races.
Endorsed by Our Revolution
District 5 – Marcia Ranglin-Vassell
State Ballot Measures:
Finally, I may have missed some candidates, so if anyone else knows of a good progressive I’ve left off this list, let me know.