NEW: Regunberg Ally Says Progressive Resources Wasted on Matt Brown’s Campaign

Thursday, September 13, 2018


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Matt Brown

The in-fighting has begun.

Following a primary election in which Rhode Island Democratic gubernatorial challenger Matt Brown was defeated by incumbent Gina Raimondo, a progressive community leader is calling out the fractured left-wing of the party for close losses among progressive candidates.

SLIDES: See RI 2018 Primary Night Winners and Losers BELOW

Topping that list?  Aaron Regunberg's narrow defeat in the primary for Lt. Governor against incumbent Dan McKee. 

Zack Mezera, who is the Executive Director of the Providence Student Union, which he co-founded along with Regunberg while at Brown University, posted the following to Facebook shortly after election night, chastising those who chose to put their efforts with Brown over other progressive candidates. 

Post-Election Post

Mezera posted the following on election night:

Congratulations to many candidates tonight.

But I’m baffled and frustrated by all the progressive/left energy that was dumped into Matt Brown, who has literally never shown up on the issues he supposedly advocates for.

There were a few lefty local and state candidates who have more than walked the walk, but didn’t win tonight. And an inexplicable number of volunteers chose not to fight with those candidates, but instead with some near-random dude who has done zero with the activists and/or for this state since he moved back here years ago.


Related Slideshow: RI 2018 Primary Night Winners and Losers

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WINNER: Gina Raimondo

Vultures had been circulating over the Governor’s head for the past couple of weeks with claims that the progressive movement in RI was picking up major steam.

Raimondo flexed her superior fundraising advantage and went negative on Matt Brown and punished him. At last count 56.2 percent to Brown’s 34.2 percent and Spencer Dickinson helping Raimondo with 9.6 percent.

At her celebration on Wednesday night, Raimondo gave a big “thank you” to Rhode Islanders for coming out to vote and she added that the people have spoken, and they want her to “Do more. Go faster. Keep going.”

Raimondo spent over $60 per vote in the primary.

She will run on the performance of the economy and look for Independent Joe Trillo to take votes away from  Cranston Mayor Allan Fung.

The Governor’s race has begun. Raimondo still has a reported $2.4 million cash-on-hand.

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WINNERS: Women Candidates

Across the state, women candidates won nearly every competitive local or statewide race.

From town councils to the governor's office, women candidates cleaned up.

The only high profile exception was in Senate District 30 in Warwick where challenger Mark McKenney took out progressive, Bernie Sanders-supporter and sitting State Senator Jeanine Calkin. McKenney won 54-46.

And, Patricia Morgan was defeated in the GOP gubernatorial primary.

Otherwise, women retained seats or seats went from male to female. The Providence City Council increases from five women members to eight with likely November wins by Helen Anthony (Ward 2), Kat Kerwin (Ward 12), and Rachel Miller (Ward 13).

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LOSER: Speaker of the House Nick Mattiello

Many of the Speaker’s targeted races turned into losses.

He pulled out all the stops to take out Smith Hill State Representative Moira Walsh and had his entire senior staff working primary day out of Patrick’s Pub on Smith Street trying to defeat Walsh.

The upstart reformer would have no part of it and at the last count beat Earnheart 55 to 45 percent.

In addition, Mattiello was on the losing side of Marcia Ranglin-Vassell, Walsh and more.

His win was Dan McKiernan in Providence in District 7 who won a narrow victory over Belen Flores 53.6 to 46.6 percent.

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WINNER: Allan Fung

Fung had the more difficult matchup than Raimondo.  He had to turn back House Minority Leader Patricia Morgan and he did with a comfortable margin.

Fung beat Morgan 56.4 percent to 40.1 percent. Former CEO of the defunct Benrus, Gio Feroce garnered just 3.5 percent.

Fung gets the Raimondo rematch that he wanted, but faces a number of new obstacles.

Fung needs the Republican Governor’s Association to support his campaign and make good on their $1.5 plus million commitment.

To beat Raimondo and not to get Bob Healey-ed again, he needs to convince the voters of Joe Trillo that a vote for Trillo is a vote for Raimondo.

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WINNER: Progressives Locally

Candidates who are strong on progressive Democratic ideals rang up win after win with few losses in the State House or in City Halls.

In Providence, progressive Sam Bell won-a-three way race and cobbled both long-time Senator Paul Jabour and Nick Autiello to capture Senate District 5.

Progressive Rebecca Kislak won House District 4.

And, in the City Council races, Helen Anthony won Ward 2 on the East Side and Rachel Miller won Ward 13 in a four-way race over Cyd McKenna, Leslie Papp, and Ray Beraducci.

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LOSERS: Progressives Statewide

Aaron Regunberg was tapped early as a candidate to watch nationally. CNN wrote in 2017 that the RI Lt. Governor’s race was one of nine Democratic primaries around the country to watch. The race did not disappoint in excitement, but in the end incumbent Dan McKee won re-election 51 to 49 percent.

Matt Brown rose from the proverbial political dead in RI and ran to the left of Gina Raimondo and pounded her on her faux pas — UHIP, and more.

But, in the end, for Brown the lack of money, Spencer Dickinson, and an in ability to convince Democrats that his vision is better for RI proved to be the downfall.

And, U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse beat back progressive, peace candidate Pat Fontes.

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LOSER: Giovanni Feroce

Giovanni Feroce trumpeted his experience and vision as the differentiation in the Republican gubernatorial campaign.

But, the CEO of the recently failed Benrus was soundly rejected by GOP voters.

Feroce won just 3.5 percent of the primary vote — just 1,137 votes statewide.

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Maybe no one had a better ad than Kobi Dennis, the Democratic candidate for Mayor of Providence. Dennis raised almost no campaign funds, but did offer up best ad — which featured him being tutored by a 9-year-old about the budget of the City of Providence.


Dennis won 24 percent of the vote in a three-way loss to sitting Mayor Jorge Elorza.

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LOSER: No Debates

The no debaters both won their primaries. It may be the new vogue strategy, but it is bad for voters and Democracy.

Will the two 'no debaters' — Gina Raimondo (D) and Allan Fung (R)  — debate?


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