PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Democrats swept to victory in all of Rhode Island’s statewide races Tuesday, including a convincing win from incumbent Gov. Gina Raimondo.
Incumbents Lt. Gov. Dan McKee, Treasurer Seth Magaziner and Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea all scored easy wins against little-known opponents, while newcomer Peter Neronha faced little opposition in his bid to be attorney general.
Here are some of the latest Election Day headlines, followed by quick cheat sheet.
9:30 p.m. Republican Allan Fung has conceded to Gov. Gina Raimondo.
9:00 p.m. Republican Steven Frias has conceded to House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello in House District 15.
8:50 p.m. Democrat Joe Solomon has been elected mayor of Warwick, Eyewitness News projects.
8:47 p.m. Woonsocket Mayor Lisa Baldelli-Hunt has won re-election, Eyewitness News projects.
8:45 p.m. Pawtucket Mayor Don Grebien has won re-election, Eyewitness News projects.
8:38 p.m. Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza has won re-election, Eyewitness News projects.
8:33 p.m. Rhode Island voters approved a $250-million school repair bond, Eyewitness News projects.
8:30 p.m. Gov. Gina Raimondo has won re-election, Eyewitness News projects.
8:25 p.m. Peter Neronha has been elected Rhode Island attorney general, Eyewitness News projects.
8:23 p.m. Lt. Gov. Dan McKee has won re-election, Eyewitness News projects.
8:20 p.m. Treasurer Seth Magaziner has won re-election, Eyewitness News projects.
8:18 p.m. Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea has won re-election, Eyewitness News projects.
8:17 p.m. Congressmen James Langevin and David Cicilline have won re-election, Eyewitness News projects.
8:05 p.m.: U.S. Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse and Elizabeth Warren have been re-eleected, CBS News projects.
Polls close in RI in just a few minutes, at 8pm. Remember – because of the new voting machines, ballots get counted VERY fast these days. We could know the results in key races in the 8 o’clock hour, and not even too late.
Turn on @wpri12 – our live coverage starts at 8pm— Ted Nesi (@TedNesi) November 7, 2018
7:28 p.m.: The polling place at Portsmouth High School was moved to a different building on campus after it was evacuated due to a gas leak. Voting hours were extended there until 9 p.m.
7:09 p.m.: Rhode Island’s voter turnout has eclipsed the 2014 gubernatorial election and currently stands as the second-highest turnout in recent history. Only has 2006 to beat (394,000).
TURNOUT: 337,575 RI voters cast a ballot at the polls thru 7pm, per @RI_BOE
103% of final 2014 turnout (last Gov race)
72% of final 2016 turnout (last Prez race)
43% of all registered voters
Excludes all 30,890 requested absentee ballots.
ONE HOUR till polls close— Ted Nesi (@TedNesi) November 7, 2018
6:02 p.m.: With less than two hours left until the polls close, Rhode Island is on pace to surpass the 2014 gubernatorial election in terms of voter turnout. As of 6 p.m., more than 311,000 residents had cast their votes, which doesn’t include nearly 31,000 submitted absentee ballots.
TURNOUT: 311,650 RI voters had cast a ballot at the polls by 6:02pm, per @RI_BOE
95% of final 2014 turnout (last Gov race)
66% of final 2016 turnout (last Prez race)
39% of all registered voters
Excludes all 30,890 requested absentee ballots.
Polls close at 8!— Ted Nesi (@TedNesi) November 6, 2018
5:35 p.m.: We’ve learned a handful of ballots were voided due to an issue at a Cumberland polling place.
Our @DCPinzon reported “7 ballots voided” earlier today after an issue at precinct 0809 in Cumberland. @RI_BOE tells us there have been “a few” issues, but nothing widespread. What did you see? We’re live at BOE HQ in Providence all night. pic.twitter.com/gzHVNSQQcO— Walt Buteau (@wbuteau) November 6, 2018
Loved what EP voter Susan Sweet had to say at the end of @TimWhiteRI‘s 5 o’clock story just now. Listen to her wisdom, and go vote! @wpri12 pic.twitter.com/w9NPdB7X3T— Ted Nesi (@TedNesi) November 6, 2018
5:11 p.m.: The R.I. Board of Elections says 285,036 voters have cast their ballots.
The pouring rain isn’t keeping people away from the polls in New Bedford. One poll worker tells me the turnout so far is more like a presidential year!— Steph Machado (@StephMachado) November 6, 2018
When factoring in emergency ballots, Providence has now blown past 30,000 voters in this election. Still three hours to go. 1,000-plus turnout spots include Summit Commons (1,357), Bishop (1,355), Temple Beth El (1,266) and Providence Water Supply (1,038).— Dan McGowan (@DanMcGowan) November 6, 2018
3 p.m.: 228,515 Rhode Islanders have voted, according to the R.I. Board of Elections.
As multiple folks have pointed out, one thing we don’t know is whether turnout will be *higher* than usual (due to enthusiasm), or just *earlier* than usual (due to bad weather forecast later today) https://t.co/qX4vcjgcSX— Ted Nesi (@TedNesi) November 6, 2018
1 p.m.: R.I. Board of Elections reports 180,095 voters have cast their ballots so far.
1 p.m.: Widespread rain expected this afternoon, with downpours and strong wind gusts possible. Will that affect voter turnout? Read More: Pinpoint Weather Blog »
11:06 a.m.: 135,393 Rhode Islanders have voted, according to the RI Board of Elections.
7:22 a.m.: Board of Elections said there were reports of ballots jamming at one polling place. Election officials said support staff remains in constant communication via chat, video, and phone.
Our support staff this morning using video chat to assist one of our technicians with clearing a ballot jam at a polling place. Technicians remain in constant communication with our office via chat, video, and phone. #ElectionDay pic.twitter.com/AZ5HI3Fyi2— RI Board of Elections (@RI_BOE) November 6, 2018
6:24 a.m.: RI Board of Elections said the voting machine on Prudence Island was successfully replaced and the polling place is operating normally.
The voting machine on Prudence Island has been successfully replaced and the polling place is operating normally. All ballots have been counted. #ElectionDay— RI Board of Elections (@RI_BOE) November 6, 2018
6:05 a.m.: RI Board of Elections said a voting machine on Prudence Island experienced technical difficulty. They had to send a replacement until on a ferry. Election officials said ballots were secured and voting continued uninterrupted.
Eyewitness News will have updates and analysis throughout the day on air and on WPRI.com, with full results once they start coming in soon after 8 – including live continuing coverage on WPRI 12, followed by the late news at 10 and 11.
YOUR LOCAL ELECTION HQ: Key Races & Ballot Questions » | Election Results » | Voter’s Guide » | Latest Headlines » | Eyewitness News Polls » | Eyewitness New Debates »
Raimondo seeks a 2-0 record against Fung
It’s safe to say Democratic incumbent Gina Raimondo has established herself as the favorite in the race for governor. In her rematch against Republican Allan Fung, her advantages include incumbency, a big financial edge, a positive political climate for Democrats, and a strong economy. The result: she led Fung by 11 points in last week’s WPRI 12/RWU poll. There is still a path to victory for Fung, even if it’s a narrow one. He would need to win an overwhelming number of undecided voters and peel off quite a few who are backing Republican-turned-independent Joe Trillo, a thorn in his side all year. Raimondo’s team was feeling confident Monday night, partly because their campaign has invested enormous resources in a robust get-out-the-vote effort coordinated with other Democrats. If Raimondo is successful, there’s a secondary question: can she crack the 50% mark? If so, she’d be the first governor elected with majority support since Don Carcieri in 2006 – and the first Democrat to achieve that since Bruce Sundlun in 1992. (Also, no matter who wins, keep this in mind: Wednesday marks the first day of the 2022 race for governor.)
- WHERE THEY STAND: RI gov. candidates on key issues »
- WHERE THEY STAND: School Safety Issues »
- EYEWITNESS NEWS/RWU POLL: Raimondo leads Fung by double-digits »
Cranston voters could upend the State House
Fewer than 11,000 voters are eligible to cast a ballot in Cranston’s House District 15, but their decision will affect all of Rhode Island’s 1 million residents. That’s because they get to decide whether Democratic House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello will return to the State House in January, or if he’ll be replaced with Republican challenger Steve Frias. As speaker Mattiello wields enormous power, deciding whether bills live or die, what goes into the budget, which lawmakers lead committees, and how the state Democratic Party operates. Mattiello argues he’s used the office effectively, citing an improving economy, his car-tax phaseout plan, and increased resources for Cranston. But Frias argues there have been too many scandals involving Mattiello’s leadership team, citing the sagas of John Carnevale, Ray Gallison, Frank Montanaro Jr. and now Cale Keable. Win or lose, the result will be felt on Smith Hill. If Mattiello wins, he’s still facing a growing revolt from some House Democrats, though their numbers are not yet large enough to oust him. If he loses, there will be a scramble to select a new speaker.
- DEBATE: Mattiello, Frias lock horns in only debate »
- NEWSMAKERS: Watch Mattiello, Frias debate in full »
A sleepy election in Massachusetts
This year’s races in Massachusetts are so sleepy they make Rhode Island look like a Florida-level swing state. Republican Gov. Charlie Baker is coasting to re-election, leading Democratic challenger Jay Gonzalez by upwards of 40 points in the polls. Democratic U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren is also in no danger, with consistently large leads over GOP nominee Geoff Diehl. Democratic Congressman Joe Kennedy III doesn’t even have an opponent – though Southeastern Massachusetts’ other congressman, Democrat Bill Keating, has a well-funded challenger in Republican Peter Tedeschi. One race to watch is ballot question No. 1, which asks voters to set limits on nurse-to-patient ratios. Polls have been trending against the question after an enormous number of TV and radio ads featuring dueling nurses.
- RELATED: Mass. voters deciding on transgender law »
- RELATED: What you need to know about Question 1 »
- RELATED: Where Mass. gov. candidates stand on key issues »
Will a ‘blue wave’ bring big turnout?
Nationwide, all signs point to unusually high turnout on Tuesday for a midterm election. Will the same hold true in Rhode Island and Massachusetts? It won’t take much to beat 2014, which was one of the lowest-turnout elections in recent memory. If there is a so-called “blue wave,” that should translate into strong turnout in these two blue states. For example, in 2006 – another “blue wave” year – nearly 400,000 Rhode Islanders went to the polls, nearing presidential-level turnout, as Lincoln Chafee and Sheldon Whitehouse battled for U.S. Senate. The secretary of state’s office reports roughly 30,000 regular and emergency mail ballots have been requested in Rhode Island this year, up significantly from 2014. It’s important to keep in mind that turnout matters not just for the marquee contests like Senate and governor, where the campaigns may be driving it, but also because it can swamp candidates in lower-profile contests like General Assembly and City Council races.
TRACK IT: Balance of Power »
Control of Congress at stake nationwide
With Democrats in control of both states’ congressional delegations, Rhode Island and Massachusetts aren’t exactly the center of the action in the national battle for Congress. Nevertheless, the outcomes of coast-to-coast U.S. House and Senate races will be felt in Southern New England. As of Monday night, national forecasters were generally in agreement that Democrats would likely take the House, while Republicans would likely keep the Senate. A Democratic-controlled House would change the landscape in Washington, and it would mean more clout for local Congressmen David Cicilline, Jim Langevin, Joe Kennedy III and Bill Keating (as long as they win their own races). Cicilline has already said he will seek House Democrats’ No. 4 job after the election, which would be the highest-profile post for a Rhode Island congressman since Patrick Kennedy ran the party’s campaign arm nearly two decades ago.
Watch the Eyewitness News Election Special here for a full preview.