Rhode Island Special Election Coming Down To One Full-On Progressive And One Corporate Moderate

Did Matos Think She Would Get Away With Handing In Forged Signatures? Well… She Did

Rhode Island’s special election to fill the seat of David Cicilline will be decided in the Democratic primary on Sept. 5, not much more than a month away. The district, the eastern part of the state, doesn’t elect Republicans. Trump barely got a third of the votes. Biden beat him by 29 points. The PVI is D+12 and the partisan lean is a massive D+32. That’s why the primary is so crucial. 

This morning, Bernie, who won RI-01 when he ran for president, endorsed Aaron Regunberg: “I’m endorsing Aaron Regunberg for Congress because he understands the vital need to stand up against large corporations who have too much control over political and economic systems. He supports Medicare For All because he knows Big Pharma and the health insurance industry continue to put their own greed ahead of the lives of thousands of Americans. At a time when we’re living with record high temperatures and devastating flooding, Aaron understands that we can’t address catastrophic climate change without boldly taking on Big Oil. Aaron knows we have to focus on an economic agenda that improves the lives for working families, from expanding paid sick days to raising wages. Aaron’s candidacy is about making our government work for everyday people, rather than corporations and billionaires, and he deserves your vote.”

Tuesday, the Congressional Progressive Caucus endorsed Aaron Regunberg, easily the standout candidate in the crowded field go mostly corporate Democrats. In their statement, Pramila Jayapal, Mark Pocan and Jamie Raskin said that Aaron Regunberg has dedicated his life to promoting the common good and taking on special interests and it is critical that Congressman David Cicilline’s successor has the record and values necessary to build on his substantial progressive legacy.” And this:

Regunberg’s main competitors are Lt. Gov. Sabina Matos, state Senator Sandra Cano, rich self-funding businessman Don Carlson (who’s trying to buy the seat with hundreds of thousands of dollars of his own money) and conservative state Rep. Marvin Abney (who was just disqualified for handing in too few valid signatures). Polling has been mixed. One showed Regunberg leading and Matos immediately released her own showing her ahead. But that was before she became the most scandal-ridden politician in the state. The Congressional Hispanic Caucus PAC thrives on corruption so of course they endorsed her.

Regunberg has been the top fundraiser— with small dollar donors— but Carlson has already pumped over $6000,000 of his own into the race. He has three-quarters of a million on hand for the final push. Regunberg is second with close to $400,000. Gabe Amy is third with $311K, followed by Sandra Cano ($250,000) and Matos with $215,000.

But aside from being out-raised by Regunberg, Amo, Cano and Carlson, Matos has had a horrible couple of weeks. Her petitions kept getting caught filled with fraudulent signatures in one town after the other. And then this past Thursday… two more cities with her petitions filled with forgeries, making it a police matter. In East Providence, the signatures of the entire city council were forged. So many of her signatures were disqualified that she just barely made it onto the ballot— and in a very shady way that will haunt her if she wins the primary.

Meanwhile, the most corporate and one of the most conservative of the candidates, former Republican Nick Autiello, quit the race, after releasing an internal poll showing him in 5th place with 5%. He reported spending around $1127,000, the third most of any of the dozen candidates.

As you may know, Blue America endorsed Regunberg the moment he announced he was running. We’d really appreciate it if you’d consider contributing to his last month efforts here. Above is the TV ad his campaign started running this morning. And below is the Facebook and Instagram ad Blue America put up today:


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