Rhode Island’s incumbent congressmen win Democratic primary

September 13, 2018

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Rhode Island’s incumbent congressmen easily won the state’s Democratic primaries Wednesday.

U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, U.S. Rep. David Cicilline and U.S. Rep. James Langevin all handily won their primary contests.

Whitehouse beat back a primary challenge from Patricia Fontes, a retired educator and peace and environmental activist, in his bid for a third Senate term. Whitehouse will face former Rhode Island Supreme Court Justice Robert Flanders in November. The 62-year-old Whitehouse is one of the leading voices in the Senate to do more to address climate change. He has also been harshly critical of Republican President Donald Trump.

Flanders won the Republican primary against California businessman Roque “Rocky” De La Fuente, who was running for Senate in numerous states. Flanders retired from the high court in 2004. His highest profile position since then was his appointment as receiver in the city of Central Falls in 2011 when it declared bankruptcy.

Cicilline cruised to a win against perennial candidate Chris Young, who has run unsuccessfully for various offices. Cicilline is seeking his fifth term in Congress. He represents the 1st Congressional District, covering the easternmost part of the state.

He’ll face Republican Patrick Donovan in November. Cicilline has a rising profile in the national party. He’s outspoken in his criticism of Trump on topics such as immigration and Russia.

Donovan, a stay-at-home father, beat accountant Frederick Wysocki in Wednesday’s primary. Donovan says he’s running because he wants district residents to have a representative more attuned to their needs.

Langevin, who’s seeking a 10th term to represent the 2nd Congressional District in western Rhode Island, didn’t face a Democratic challenger in Wednesday’s primary.

Langevin’s opponent in November will be Republican businessman Salvatore Caiozzo. Caiozzo, also unopposed in the primary, ran for the seat in 2016 as an independent, finishing last.

Langevin is a former Rhode Island secretary of state who was first elected to Congress in 2000.

The fourth member of the state’s congressional delegation, U.S. Sen. Jack Reed, is not up for re-election.