Key Races: Rhode Island Governor

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In November, Rhode Islanders will vote on a number of key races, including the state’s next governor.

Will incumbent Gov. Dan McKee win his first full term? Or will one of his Democratic challengers knock him out in the September primary?

The filing deadline is June 29, so this page will be updated as candidates enter or leave the race. Their stances on key issues will also be added once that information is available.

Here’s some information on the current candidates (sorted alphabetically):

Matt Brown (D)

Brown is one of several candidates in the race for the Democratic nomination, but at this time, he’s the only one with a running mate: state Sen. Cynthia Mendes, who’s a candidate for lieutenant governor.

Brown, 51, was Rhode Island’s secretary of state from 2002 to 2006. After a fundraising controversy derailed a bid for U.S. Senate, he remained out of the spotlight for years until he mounted an unsuccessful challenge against then-Gov. Gina Raimondo in 2018.

Helena Foulkes (D)

Foulkes is a first-time candidate who recently emerged as the financial leader in the gubernatorial race.

She’s a lifelong Rhode Islander and a former executive at CVS Health.

Nellie Gorbea (D)

Gorbea is currently serving her second term as Rhode Island’s secretary of state. She was by far the first Democrat to launch a campaign for governor — nearly 16 months before the primary — and is the only current officeholder in the race, outside of McKee.

The 54-year-old is a native of Puerto Rico and currently lives with her family in North Kingstown.

Ashley Kalus (R)

Kalus is currently the lone Republican in the race right now. She’s a newcomer to Rhode Island with a background in politics and business, having worked on the successful 2014 campaign of former Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner. More recently, a company run by Kalus and her husband won an $8 million COVID-19 testing contract with the state of Rhode Island.

Kalus, 39, kicked off her campaign with the release of a video in March. She and her husband have three school-age sons and bought a home in Newport last year.

Dan McKee (D)

McKee took over as governor of Rhode Island in March 2021 after Gina Raimondo left to join the Biden administration.

He previously served as her lieutenant governor starting in 2014, and before that served as the mayor of his native Cumberland for 12 years.

Dr. Luis Daniel Muñoz (D)

Muñoz is a medical doctor who grew up in Central Falls and has served on the state’s Equity Council, according to his website.

He describes himself as a community organizer who has an “unyielding commitment to fight for real progress.”

Paul Rianna Jr. (I)

Rianna is an independent candidate who describes himself as “a regular person fighting for the people.”

His website says he was born and raised in South Providence.