Happenings on the Hill: Fall 2018 Election Recap & A Divided Congress for 2019


Now that that the political dust has settled, and the so-called “blue wave” has retreated, we give you a recap of the 2018 mid-term elections. RI incumbents in statewide offices mostly stayed in place, progressives made gains in the General Assembly, while in Congress, the Democrats took back control of the U.S. House. Here's the breakdown on races from RI to Washington, DC :

State of Rhode Island
Statewide Offices:
Governor: Incumbent Governor Gina Raimondo (D) goes onto a second term by defeating Cranston Mayor Allan Fung (R) and former representative Joe Trillo (I). The *results were: Raimondo 52%, Fung 37 %, Trillo 4%.
Lt. Governor: Incumbent Dan McKee (D) goes onto a second term by defeating Paul Pence (R).
Treasurer: Incumbent Seth Magaziner (D) goes onto a second term by defeating Mike Riley (R).
Secretary of State: Incumbent Nellie Gorbea goes onto a second term by defeating Pat Cortellessa (R).
RI Attorney General: Peter Neronha (D), former U.S. Attorney, won the open seat by defeating Alan Gordon. (Peter Kilmartin is term-limited and completes his two terms at year’s end.)

RI Congressional Delegation:
U.S. Senate: Incumbent Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D) kept his seat in defeating challenger former Judge Robert Flanders (R).
U.S. House: Incumbent Congressman James Langevin kept his seat in defeating challenger Sal Caiozzo (R).

Incumbent Congressman David Ciccilline kept his seat in defeating challenger Pat Donovan (R).
*(note on results: we are omitting names of candidates from outside the dominant parties whose results were below 10% in all races.)
Bond Referendum Results: Rhode Island voters approved all three bond referendum questions, approving $250 million in funding to upgrade RI school buildings, $70 million to higher education facilities, and $47.3 million to environmental projects and clean water.

RI General Assembly:
Summary: The election brought some changes to the legislators serving in the 113-seat RI General Assembly. The ratio between Democrats and Republicans did not substantially change from previous years, but the increase in legislators elected from the progressive coalition of Democrats to the RI House was the most significant result of the election. There are now nine self-identified progressives serving in the House out of the 66 Democrats. The election saw 9 Republicans in total in the House keeping their seats or newly elected. In the Senate, the Democrats remain dominant with 35 out of 38 seats, as the tiny Republican caucus lost a Senate seat when retiring East Greenwich Republican Senator Mark Gee’s seat was picked up by a Democrat.

The leadership of the RI House and RI Senate stayed intact, as House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello kept his seat after a hard battle from challenger Republican Steve Frias, and Senate President Dominic Ruggerio was re-elected.
RI House totals: 66 Democrats, 9 Republicans, Total seats: 75
RI Senate totals: 35 Democrats, 3 Republicans, total seats: 38

Federal: U.S. House of Representatives & U.S. Senate
U.S. House: Democrats regained control of the U.S. House by winning 39 seats. The Democratic caucus nominated long serving California Rep. Nancy Pelosi to be Speaker, once Congress reconvenes in January, despite factions of opposition from some of the newly elected members.
U.S. Senate: Republicans not only kept in control of the U.S. Senate but increased their margin by gaining seats to now hold a 53-47 majority. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will continue to oversee the chamber.

Congressional watchers from both sides of the aisle predict the split in control of the two chambers of Congress will only serve to exacerbate the intense partisan atmosphere in Washington DC and across the country. Meantime the Mueller probe of President Trump and allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. elections is continuing as the President prepares to launch his third year in office in 2019.



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