PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Democrat Gabe Amo held Rhode Island’s 1st Congressional District for his party in Tuesday’s special election by running up huge margins in friendly territory, even as Republican Gerry Leonard won three communities for the GOP.

Amo received 65% of the vote across the 19 communities of the 1st District, which stretches from Woonsocket to Newport, while Leonard received 35%. About 43,000 voters backed Amo and about 23,000 backed Leonard, according to uncertified Board of Elections results.

The two candidates received nearly identical levels of support in the 1st District on Tuesday as their parties’ presidential nominees, Joe Biden and Donald Trump, did back in the 2020 election.

Participation was relatively low due to the unusual timing of the special election. About 66,000 ballots were cast for Congress, putting voter turnout at roughly 19%.

Amo won an eye-popping 90% of the vote in Providence, topping Leonard by almost 5,800 raw votes in the capital city. At his best polling place – the Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island on the East Side – Amo received over 1,000 votes and Leonard received just 50.

The Democrat also received two-thirds or more of the vote in Newport, Central Falls, Pawtucket, Barrington, East Providence and Jamestown.

Leonard’s best community was North Smithfield, where he defeated Amo 55% to 45%, netting almost 300 more votes than his opponent. The Republican also got 52% of the vote in both Woonsocket and Smithfield.

Amo will be sworn in as soon as next week to finish the unexpired term of David Cicilline, who resigned earlier this year. He will face voters again one year from now when he seeks a full term.

Eli Sherman ( is a Target 12 investigative reporter for 12 News. Connect with him on Twitter and on Facebook.

Ted Nesi ( is a Target 12 investigative reporter and 12 News politics/business editor. He co-hosts Newsmakers and writes Nesi's Notes on Saturdays. Connect with him on Threads, Twitter and Facebook.