R.I. voters choose Democrats for major state office positions

Election sees new and old Democratic faces for attorney general, general treasurer and secretary of state

Staff Writer
Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Attorney General

Democratic incumbent Attorney General Peter Kilmartin won his reelection bid by more than 13 percentage points against his Republican challenger, two-term state Sen. Dawson Hodgson, R-R-East Greenwich, North Kingstown, South Kingstown and Narragansett.

Kilmartin, a former Pawtucket police officer who was elected attorney general in 2010, campaigned on his experience and accomplishments in the office. He touted his establishment of a Child Abuse Unit — an internal unit that solely focuses on prosecuting child abuse cases — as his greatest accomplishment and focused on keeping communities safe from “guns, gangs and drugs,” WPRI reported.

Hodgson, who formerly served as criminal prosecutor in the attorney general’s office from 2005 to 2011, focused on strengthening the economy and reestablishing trust between the public and the government. He has criticized Kilmartin — who served as a state representative for 20 years — for being cozy with elected officials in the General Assembly, WPRI reported.

The ongoing 38 Studios investigation was a major point of debate between the two candidates. Hodgson criticized Kilmartin for voting to approve a $75 million loan to 38 Studios, a video game company founded by former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling, which went bankrupt two years after accepting the loan.


General Treasurer

Democratic candidate for General Treasurer Seth Magaziner ’06 defeated Independent Ernest Almonte, a former public accountant and state auditor general, with 57.1 percent of the vote.

“We celebrate tonight but we have to remember that across this state there are a lot of people who are hurting,” Magaziner said during his victory speech at the Providence Biltmore Hotel.

During his campaign, Magaziner focused on revitalizing Rhode Island’s economy, improving the retirement system, increasing funding for education and securing financial stability for Rhode Island residents.

“My focus is finding ways the treasurer’s office can jumpstart the state’s economy,” Magaziner told The Herald.

Almonte said his priorities were to manage the state’s pension crisis, establish a municipal financial team to assess government deficit, improve government accountability and bring financial literacy to classrooms.

Both Magaziner and Almonte agreed that pension overhaul was necessary and called for changes in investing the state’s pension money in hedge funds.

Almonte is currently an adjunct lecturer of public policy at the University. Magaziner is the son of Ira Magaziner ’69 P’06 P’07 P’10, a former adviser to Bill Clinton and founder of the University’s open curriculum.

“We were feeling confident going into today, but of course you never know until the last vote is counted,” Magaziner told The Herald. “We’ve got a lot of work to get the state back on track, and I’m very excited to get started.”


Secretary of State

Former Deputy Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea, the democratic nominee, will become Rhode Island’s new secretary of state, winning with 60.4 percent of the vote, 21.1 percentage points over Republican opponent John Carlevale, a former social caseworker and former assistant professor of human services at the Community College of Rhode Island. Gorbea, born in Puerto Rico, is the first Hispanic to hold statewide office in New England.

Gorbea stressed repealing Rhode Island’s voter ID law and did not support Question 3 — whether to hold a constitutional convention or not — which appears on the general election ballot every 10 years. Gorbea, the former executive director of HousingWorks Rhode Island, has said she aims to increase government transparency, encourage growth of small businesses and improve voter turnout.

Carlevale supported the voter ID law and constitutional convention ballot measure. This was his third bid for secretary of state.

“I am honored to have earned the support and confidence of my fellow Rhode Islanders and look forward to serving them as secretary of state,” Gorbea said in an official statement released after her victory. “Starting on day one, my work will focus on ensuring fair, fast and accurate elections, making it easy for businesses to start and thrive, and ensuring that our government is transparent and accountable to the Rhode Islanders.”


House Rep. District 4

In the race to fill the seat vacated by former Rhode Island House Speaker Gordon Fox, D-Providence, who held the seat for 22 years before resigning because of a federal investigation, Democratic candidate for State Representative Aaron Regunberg ’12 led the way with 65.7 points over Independent candidate and political newcomer Ethan Gyles.

Regunberg campaigned on reforming tax policies, encouraging small business growth and reestablishing public trust in the government. He touted his experience as a co-founder of the Providence Student Union for providing leadership and organizational skills that he would bring to the General Assembly, according to his website.

Following the raid on Fox’s home last spring by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Internal Revenue Service and state police, Gyles advocated for greater government transparency. A former environmental engineering consultant, Gyles championed stabilizing Rhode Island’s economy, reexamining the state’s public education system and protecting natural resources.

Upon his victory in District 4, which includes the Blackstone, Mount Hope, and Summit neighborhoods, Regunberg wrote on his Facebook page, “I am so humbled and grateful for all of your support. And most of all, I’m excited to get to work!”

“(Regunberg) ran a really strong campaign,” Gyles told The Herald. “I’m proud that we were both able to stay positive and run really clean campaigns. I wish him the best.”


– With additional reporting by Duncan Gallagher 

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