As if Rhode Island wasn’t already enough of a Democratic one-party state, the latest voter registration numbers from the secretary of state’s office show that the Ocean State has gotten even more Democratic since the 2006 midterm elections.
According to data, courtesy of Chris Barnett, spokesman for Secretary of State Ralph Mollis, the number of voters registered as Democrats has grown, while the number of Republicans has declined slightly as a percentage of all voters. But the main movement has been away from voters enrolling as independent or unaffiliated and instead linking up with the Democrats.
In September, 2006, the 236,665 registered Democrats made up 35.3 of the state’s electorate, the 68,864 Republicans were at 10.3 percent and unaffiliated voters were 54.5 percent at 365,658.
In May of 2013, the 290,397 registered Democratic Party voters composed 40.1 percent of the total electorate. The Republican Party’s 74,070 voters were 10.2 percent of all registered voters and the independent, unaffiliated slice of voters were 49.5 percent at 358,045. There were also 1,394 Moderate Party enrolled voters, which was .002 percent of the total.
Mark Smiley, the new GOP state chairman, knows he has a lot of party building to do. Rhode Island Republicans hold no statewide or federal offices and account for just 11 of 138 members of the General Assembly. It might be time for a GOP voter registration campaign. And Democratic President Barack Obama has twice - in 2008 and 2012 - carried Rhode Island with about 63 percent of the vote in each election.