Rhode Island candidates stepped up their final push for voters' support ahead of the Wednesday primary with a combination of high-profile endorsemens and retail politics.
In the race for lieutenant governor between incumbent Democrat Dan McKee and progressive challenger Aaron Regunberg, Regunberg received an endorsement from 2016 presidential candidate and U.S. Sen. from Vermont Bernie Sanders.
"Aaron Regunberg has shown himself to be a real fighter for all Rhode Islanders during his time in the legislature and, in my view, would make an excellent lieutenant governor," Sanders said in a statement. "He has won real victories to raise wages, to combat climate change, and to make voting more accessible. He successfully championed paid sick leave for 100,000 Rhode Islanders, and he supports a Medicare-for-all national health care system. At this important political moment, we need state leaders like Aaron who are willing to take on entrenched corporate interests. That’s why I hope you will join me in supporting Aaron Regunberg for lieutenant governor."
McKee countered by announcing he won the backing of the Rhode Island Manufacturers Association. He also got an endorsement from U.S. Sen. Jack Reed, as well as Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse and U.S. Rep. Jim Langevin.
“I have worked with Lt. Governor Dan McKee when he was Mayor of Cumberland and more recently in his role as Lieutenant t Governor,” Reed said. "Dan is a man of integrity and of action whether it is fighting to get big utilities to return big Trump tax cuts as rebated to ratepayers or organizing our community’s to sue big Pharma to fight the opioid addiction epidemic. Dan has always stood up for the people of Rhode Island and therefore I am proud to stand with Dan by giving him my endorsement. I ask all Rhode Island voters to vote for Dan McKee for Lieutenant Governor in the Democrat primary on Wednesday September 12th."
Gov. Gina Raimondo, facing a challenge from former secretary of state Matt Brown, unveiled her own big-name supporter: former Vice President Joe Biden.
“Governor Raimondo is bringing the change hardworking Rhode Islanders need and deserve after too many years of economic struggle,” Biden said in a statement. “She has been a champion for working families, expanding the earned income tax credit and raising the minimum wage. Gina has rolled up her sleeves to put people back to work, and by making Rhode Island one of the first states in the country to offer tuition-free community college, she is ensuring that Rhode Islanders will continue to have the tools they need to compete in the 21st century. She’s never going to give up on Rhode Island. I am proud to endorse her today and ask you to vote for her on Wednesday, September 12th.”
Brown continued a walking tour throughout Rhode Island and staged an evening rally at Burnside Park in Providence.
"Governor Raimondo is going to run a negative and dishonest campaign until Wednesday but it’s not gonna work," Brown said on Twitter.
Both Brown and Raimondo worked to greet voters over the weekend, as did their rivals on the other side of the partisan aisle.
The other top race in the primary is the GOP fight for governor between Cranston Mayor Allan Fung, RI House Republican leader Patricia Morgan, and businessman Giovanni Feroce.
This post has been updated.