PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - General Treasurer Frank Caprio won his party's endorsement forgovernor and Providence Mayor David Cicilline was picked as itschoice for the congressional seat being vacated by Patrick Kennedyas Rhode Island Democrats met Monday to choose a slate ofcandidates to back for the Sept. 14 primary.
The winner in each race will be listed first on the ballot.Caprio said he took his 88-to-32 win over Attorney General PatrickLynch as a sign that his message of no new taxes and helping smallbusiness is resonating.
"This is the first indication, when people had to stand up," hesaid after making an acceptance speech in which he promised a winin September and in the Nov. 2 general election. "We want everyvote from every Rhode Islander."
The governor's seat—held for 16 years by Republicans andthe only top office in the state not held by Democrats—is thetop prize for the state's Democrats this year.
Republican Gov. Don Carcieri is term-limited, and there's acrowded field of candidates to replace him, including former U.S.Sen. Lincoln Chafee, running as an independent, Moderate Partyfounder and entrepreneur Ken Block and Republicans John Robitaille,a former Carcieri aide, and former state Rep. Victor Moffitt.Republicans hold their convention Wednesday, with Robitailleexpected to be endorsed, according to party Chairman GiovanniCicione.
In the 1st Congressional District, four Democrats are running tosucceed Kennedy, who has served eight terms. Some candidates took afew moments Monday to pay tribute to Kennedy, including U.S. Rep.Jim Langevin, who represents the state's only other congressionaldistrict, and who recalled their early days serving together as thetwo youngest members of the General Assembly in the 1980s.
"There is not a harder fighter or a harder worker than Patrickin Congress," Langevin said. "He has made his mark. He has made adifference."
Kennedy did not attend the convention.
Cicilline won the endorsement for the seat over Bill Lynch,Patrick Lynch's brother, who was party chairman for 12 years beforeleaving to run for Congress. He said he spoke with every member ofthe state committee and executive board to ask for their support,and he received 46 votes to Lynch's 18 votes.
"This was the moment that traditional politics was set aside,"Cicilline said after winning. "People want to be sure they'resending someone to Washington who can actually get thingsdone."
In a speech before the endorsement, Bill Lynch told fellowDemocrats he would rely on their individual support and that hebelieved he was best positioned to win in November.
Businessman Anthony Gemma got two votes in the race for the 1stCongressional District and state Rep. David Segal did not haveenough support at the convention to be nominated forconsideration.
Both Cicilline and Lynch have been the best-funded candidates intheir races, according to quarterly filings made with state andfederal elections officials in the spring.
In the race for attorney general, state Rep. Peter Kilmartin ofPawtucket, a lawyer and former police officer, secured theendorsement with 96 votes. Steve Archambault, a lawyer, townprosecutor for Lincoln and former police officer, got 16 votes, andformer Providence City Solicitor Joe Fernandez got six.
In other races, the party endorsed incumbents Langevin,Secretary of State Ralph Mollis and Lt. Gov. Elizabeth Roberts.Roberts faces a challenge from Boston Red Sox executive JeremyKapstein, but no one nominated him for party consideration. GinaRaimondo, who is running uncontested for the Democratic nominationto succeed Caprio as general treasurer, was also endorsed.
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