RI Gov. McKee faces GOP challenger in bid for 1st full term

Nov 8, 2022, 1:54 PM | Updated: 2:27 pm
FILE— Rhode Island Democratic Gov. Dan McKee addresses a gathering during his inaugural address, ...

FILE— Rhode Island Democratic Gov. Dan McKee addresses a gathering during his inaugural address, Sunday, March 7, 2021, at the Statehouse in Providence. McKee faces Rhode Island Republican gubernatorial candidate Ashley Kalus in the general election. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)

(AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Rhode Island voters are deciding Tuesday whether Democratic Gov. Dan McKee will get to serve his first full term in office or if they want a change in leadership.

Republican challenger Ashley Kalus often says it’s time to change direction, while McKee says he helped the state’s economy recover from COVID-19 and can continue the momentum.

If elected, McKee would help his party maintain its control over the top statewide offices. All of the posts are currently held by Democrats. He’s seeking his first full term in office after taking over in March 2021 when two-term Gov. Gina Raimondo was tapped as U.S. commerce secretary.

Kalus, if elected, would be the state’s first Republican governor since 2011. Voters in Rhode Island are choosing the next governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state and treasurer, as well as who will serve in the U.S. House, the state Legislature and local offices.

With the retirement of longtime Democratic Rep. Jim Langevin, the state’s 2nd Congressional District is open for the first time in two decades. Langevin wants Democratic Treasurer Seth Magaziner to take his place, but Republicans are eyeing the seat as a possible pickup opportunity. Republican candidate Allan Fung, a former Cranston mayor, is well-known in the district.

McKee, the former lieutenant governor, is a heavy favorite in the liberal state as both a Democrat and incumbent, who was endorsed by a host of large unions. He has tried to differentiate himself from Kalus by talking about how he’s a lifelong Rhode Islander with decades of public service in the state. Kalus is a business owner and political novice who moved to the state last year.

Like Democrats nationwide, McKee also worked to keep abortion rights front and center in the campaign and convince voters that he would champion reproductive rights. McKee ran an ad portraying Kalus as the “anti-choice” politician who would follow the lead of former President Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, take the state backwards and limit abortion access.

Though Kalus has called herself “pro-life” and said she does not support “taxpayer-funded abortions,” she said the Supreme Court decision will have no impact in Rhode Island because the right to an abortion was codified into state law in 2019 and the vast majority of residents supported that law. She accused McKee of being a “desperate career politician” who was lying because he feared losing.

Kalus is trying to convince voters that McKee is an insider politician who is beholden to special interests. She seized on the fact that the FBI is now investigating the awarding of a controversial state contract and criticized McKee over the approval of public financing for developers. She told voters she would end the “I know a guy system” in Rhode Island and help working families.

Kalus, who owns a COVID-19 testing company that is suing the state over a canceled contract, moved to Rhode Island last year from Illinois and previously worked for former Illinois Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner. She bought a home in Newport, registered to vote in Rhode Island as a Republican in January and declared her candidacy in March.

With a week to go before the election, profane texts were shared with media outlets that Kalus sent a contractor in 2018 and 2019 in Chicago. Kalus was upset over construction delays and billing disputes when she was opening a new medical office with her husband. Kalus defended the texts to WPRO, saying they show she and taxpayers will not be taken advantage of if she’s elected governor. The McKee campaign said the texts show Kalus is wrong for Rhode Island.

Independent candidates Zachary Hurwitz and Paul Rianna and libertarian Elijah Gizzarelli are also on the ballot. Early voting began Oct. 19 and concluded Monday. Nearly 150,000 residents cast their ballots early in-person in the November 2020 general election, accounting for about 30% of the vote.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


              Signs point to the entrance on the last day of early voting before the midterm election as a man walks out of a polling site in Cranston, R.I., Monday, Nov. 7, 2022. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
            
              Rhode Island gubernatorial candidate Ashley Kalus, a Republican, speaks with a reporter during an interview, Tuesday, March 22, 2022, in East Providence, R.I. Kalus is facing incumbent Rhode Island Democratic Gov. Dan McKee. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)
            
              FILE— Rhode Island Democratic Gov. Dan McKee addresses a gathering during his inaugural address, Sunday, March 7, 2021, at the Statehouse in Providence. McKee faces Rhode Island Republican gubernatorial candidate Ashley Kalus in the general election. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)

AP

FILE - A flu vaccine is readied at the L.A. Care and Blue Shield of California Promise Health Plans...
Associated Press

Flu season worsens as 44 states report high activity

NEW YORK (AP) — The U.S. flu season keeps getting worse. Health officials said Friday that 7.5% of outpatient medical visits last week were due to flu-like illnesses. That’s as high as the peak of the 2017-18 flu season and higher than any season since. The annual winter flu season usually doesn’t get going until […]
20 hours ago
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin introduces the B-21 Raider stealth at Northrop Grumman Friday, De...
Associated Press

Keep COVID military vaccine mandate, defense chief says

ABOARD A U.S. MILITARY AIRCRAFT (AP) — Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said he wants to keep the military’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate in place to protect the health of the troops, as Republican governors and lawmakers press to rescind it. This past week more than 20 Republican governors sent a letter to President Joe Biden asking […]
20 hours ago
Associated Press

Family says coyote attacked toddler outside LA home

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A coyote ambushed and injured a 2-year old girl outside her Los Angeles home in a daytime attack before her father chased the animal off, her family said. Home security video obtained by KTLA-TV shows the animal grab and drag the toddler across her lawn and sidewalk, just seconds after her […]
20 hours ago
FILE -  Rep. Jim Kolbe, R-Ariz, speaks during a press conference at the American University of Beir...
Associated Press

Longtime Arizona GOP Rep. Jim Kolbe dies at 80

PHOENIX (AP) — Jim Kolbe, a Republican congressman who represented a heavily Democratic region of Arizona for more than two decades and was a proponent of gay rights, has died. He was 80. Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey said in a statement that Kolbe died Saturday. Ducey ordered flags lowered until sunset Sunday. Kolbe served in […]
20 hours ago
Associated Press

Fan buying famed ‘Goonies’ house in Oregon, listed for $1.7M

ASTORIA, Ore. (AP) — The listing agent for the Victorian home featured in the “The Goonies” film in Astoria, Oregon, said this week the likely new owner is a fan of the classic coming-of-age movie about friendships and treasure hunting, and he promises to preserve and protect the landmark. The 1896 home with sweeping views […]
20 hours ago
New Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna is sworn in by the Honorable Samantha Jersey, Presiding ...
Associated Press

New LA sheriff vows accountability, integrity for department

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The new head of the nation’s largest sheriff’s department vowed Saturday to usher in an era of integrity and collaboration after his predecessor’s tenure was marked by clashes with other public officials and allegations that ganglike groups of deputies ran amok within the agency. Robert Luna took an oath of office […]
20 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet edges out cable for everyday use

In a world where technology drives so much of our daily lives, a lack of high-speed internet can be a major issue.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Prep the plumbing in your home just in time for the holidays

With the holidays approaching, it's important to know when your home is in need of heating and plumbing updates before more guests start to come around.
(Desert Institute for Spine Care photo)...
DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

Why DISC is world renowned for back and neck pain treatments

Fifty percent of Americans and 90% of people at least 50 years old have some level of degenerative disc disease.
RI Gov. McKee faces GOP challenger in bid for 1st full term