PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Incumbent Sabina Matos has won the Democratic primary for Rhode Island lieutenant governor, according to preliminary results compiled by the Associated Press.

Matos, of Providence, defeated Cynthia Mendes of East Providence and Deborah Ruggiero of Jamestown.

“I am so humbled and honored to be Rhode Island’s Democratic Nominee for Lt. Governor,” Matos said in a statement Tuesday night. “Having the opportunity to provide little girls across the state with a vision of what they can be is one of the greatest privileges in my life, and one of the most important reasons I got into public service.”

“Our state needs leaders who stand up for everyday Rhode Islanders who are struggling with rising costs of  living, especially housing,” she continued. “We need leaders who stand up for women’s rights and fight for safer communities.”

The victory caps off a hard-fought race between the three women, who spent the better part of the past year trying to grow name recognition and convince voters they are best fit for the state’s No. 2 job.

Matos, who’s served in the position since she was hand-picked by Gov. Dan McKee in 2021, ran to win the seat in her own right. Mendes, a state senator and member of the progressive Rhode Island Political Cooperative, campaigned in partnership with gubernatorial candidate Matt Brown. Ruggiero, a state representative and member of the powerful House Finance Committee, tried to convince voters she could bring state leaders together to make big things happen.

Matos will go on to face Republican nominee Aaron Guckian, who beat opponent Paul Pence, in the general election on Nov. 8.

“I am deeply thankful for all of the Rhode Islanders who supported me in today’s election, and I am mindful that there are many Rhode Islanders who backed someone else,” Matos added. “In the next 56 days, I will work tirelessly to earn the backing of my opponents’ supporters to ensure that we protect and expand the right to abortion, preserve strong gun laws, make housing more affordable, and support the Rhode Island workers who are the backbone of our economy.”