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Democrats Hope For Progressive "Blue Wave" In RI Midterm Elections


Local progressives are hoping to win more than a dozen seats in the Rhode Island General Assembly after the votes are counted Tuesday night.

Several candidates have no challenger, and progressive organizers are hoping for solid wins in districts representing communities such as East Greenwich and Woonsocket.

Georgia Holister Isman, who leads the progressive Working Families Party of Rhode Island, conceded that some of the races she is following are long shots, but she’s already calling the November election a win for progressives in Rhode Island.

"We’re going into the 2019 legislative season for sure a more progressive House, a more progressive Senate. I think you probably have pro-choice majorities and a more female House and a more female Senate," Isman said.

Republicans said they’re also hoping to pick up seats.

Leaders in the state's Republican party predicted that dissatisfaction with local politicians would help more GOP candidates get into the Rhode Island General Assembly.

"We’re going into the 2019 legislative season for sure a more progressive House, a more progressive Senate."

"We’re still in the bottom of a lot of categories," said RI Republican Party Chair Brandon Bell, who is also running for office this year. "I do think a two-party system really does work. It works for honest debate, it works for accountability purposes."

Bell said Republicans had fielded several new candidates, and organizers think they have a good chance of scooping up some seats as voters head to the polls.

Those include two seats in Burrillville, where residents are fighting a proposed power plant, and where an incumbent Democratic legislator has been accused of sexual harassment.

Republicans are also watching House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello’s race against Republican Steve Frias, who lost last to Mattiello in 2016 by just 85 votes.

File, The Public's Radio