Cook Political Report: RHODE ISLAND (D – Raimondo) Likely Democrat → Lean Democrat: Given how progressive candidates have surprised Democratic incumbents this cycle, there was a lot of hand-wringing about how Gov. Gina Raimondo would fare in her primary, but she ended up with a very comfortable victory. She took 57 percent to 33 percent for former Secretary of State Matt Brown and 10 percent for former state Rep. Spencer Dickinson. Republicans nominated Cranston Mayor Allan Fung, who won the primary with 56 percent to 40 percent for state House Minority Leader Patricia Morgan, and 4 percent for businessman Giovanni Ferocce. The primaries set up a rematch between Raimondo and Fung, who faced off in 2014; Raimondo took 41 percent to 36 percent for Fung and 21 percent for Moderate Party nominee Bob Healey. ...
GOP ads notwithstanding, Raimondo does have a record on which to run. At least in the primary phase of the race, Fung wasn’t as strong a candidate as he was in 2014. He ran a Rose Garden campaign, largely to avoid dealing with President Trump, who is popular with the small GOP primary electorate (just 33,000 votes were cast in the primary) but very unpopular statewide. Now that the primary is over, Fung will need to engage and take positions on both national and state issues. But, Trump won’t go away as an issue for Fung.
Like 2014, This is another three-way race with conservative GOP state Sen. Joe Trillo running as an independent and likely to siphon some votes away from Fung. Raimondo starts with the advantage, but the race will be competitive. Whether this contest makes it to the Toss Up column rests on whether Raimondo’s campaign can avoid further unforced errors and whether Fung can prove he is a better candidate than he was in 2014.
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