Monday, September 24, 2018

Rhode Island Governor- Race of the Day

43 Days Until Election Day

Rhode Island Governor

Status: Democrat Incumbent
2018 Presidential Result: Blue State (East)

Outlook: Leans Democrat

The Ocean State is square mile per square mile perhaps the most pro-Democrat state in the country.  However, this geographically small area is not adverse to electing Republican Governors. Four years ago, a Democrat won the open office by a margin over her Republican opponent of 41-36. This year, the two candidates will meet in a rematch with the centrist political party that took 21 percent not expected to be anywhere near as big of a factor in the state that has seen several multiple candidate races, and will to some extent again this year.

In 2014, Gina Raimondo, then the State Treasurer was elected as the state's first female Governor. With a background in venture capital, she hardly fit the profile of the pro-union economically liberal Rhode Island politician. In the primary, she defeated two candidates who ran to her left. In the general election she faced Republican Allan Fung. the Mayor of Cranston and son of immigrants from Hong Kong. Considered a moderate Republican, Fung was looked at someone who could be successful politically statewide. Early in the campaign though, he revealed that shortly before he turned 19, he was involved in a fatal car accident. While drugs or alcohol were not involved, he was charged in the case, but not indicted by a grand jury. Whether this long ago incident played a role in voters' minds or not, he was not able to overcome the advantage that Democrats had, even as some in the party were less than enthusiastic about Raimondo.

Since then, Fung has gotten married (to a woman he met at the 2012 Republican National Convention), and has decided to run for Governor again. Raimondo's tenure as Governor has seen her thoroughly govern as a left-leaning Democrat, but she has also had clashes with figures in her party who have wished she was more progressive. The one time moderate Republican U.S. Senator turned Independent Governor turned quixotic Democrat Presidential candidate Lincoln Chafee had threatened to primary Raimondo in an attempt to get his job back, but he did not run.

 This month's primary saw her win renomination with a less than inspiring 57 percent against two opponents. The most serious challenge came from former Secretary of State Matt Brown, who ran to her left and received over a third of the vote. In response to the challenge, the Governor made attempts to portray herself as being staunchly liberal in her own right. Brown had been considering running as an Independent, and the fact that he did not is certainly good news for the party.

In the meantime, Fung was defeating two primary opponents as well. Like the Democrat ran, only opponent reached double digits. That was House Minority Leader Patricia Morgan. She was 20 years older than Fung and also campaigned as an electable moderate Republican. Fung won the nomination once again though, by a margin of 56-40. perhaps because he was not part of the state government battles in Providence.

There is also a third candidate running, who initially started off planning to compete in the GOP primary. Seventy-five year old former State Representative Joe Trillo was an early supporter of Donald Trump, who chaired his campaign in the state where Trump easily won the primary and lost the general election in a landslide. It is interesting that Trillo apparently determined he could not win a primary against moderate, establishment type opponents and is technically running against the party, that currently supports Trump at high levels. As the GOP nominee, Fung will likely not speak much about the current President however. Trillo's presence on the ballot may indeed hurt the Republican nominee's chances by taking votes on the right, but it also could be that Trillo will win populist votes on the left as well who think Raimondo is too much of a corporate candidate.

There is no doubt that a lot of Democrats in the state have major issues with the Governor of their party. Some polls have shown a virtual dead heat between Raimondo and Fung, but the most recent one shows her ahead by seven points, while still well below the 50 percent mark. Considering the overall make-up of the state and the dynamics present in a mid-term election of a polarizing Republican President, it is impressive that Fung is even in the game. It will still be a pretty big upset though if he somehow manages to win.

Gubernatorial Races predicted thus far:

15 D  (2 Safe, 3 Likely,  7 Leans, 3 Tossup) 
14 R   (2 Safe, 5 Likely, 5 Leans, 2 Tossup)

Total with predictions thus far:

22 D (7 holdovers, 2 Safe, 3 Likely, 7 Leans, 3 Tossup)
21 R (7 holdovers, 2 Safe, 5 Likely, 5 Leans, 2 Tossup)


At 6:24 PM, Blogger Steve Boudreaux said...



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