If you thought Rhode Island’s high unemployment and the state’s losing investment in 38 Studios would spark glimmers of legislative realignment at the ballot box, think again.
The Democrats who have ruled the General Assembly since the “Bloodless Revolution” of 1935 strengthened their hand yesterday. Not a single incumbent state rep or senator lost their seat in the general election.
As it stands, the 10-member GOP presence in the House will be cut almost in half (to six seats) due to these changes: Jack Savage and Dan Gordon didn’t seek re-election; Larry Ehrhardt got beat by Democrat Robert Craven, and Democrat Linda Dill Finn appears to have edged Dan Reilly.
The partisan breakdown in the House in the last session was 65 Democrats and 10 Republicans. If the new math holds up, it will be 69-6.
In the Senate, GOP senators Bethany Moura, Glenford Shibley, and Francis Maher lost their seats to Democratic challengers. A race between incumbent Republican senator Nick Kettle and Democratic challenger Scott Pollard remains unresolved.
As it stands, the new Senate partisan split is 32 Democrats, 5 Republicans, and one independent, compared with 29Ds, 8Rs and 1I in the last session.
House Democrats plan a caucus some time before the start of the session in January to vote on a successor to J. Patrick O’Neill, who resigned as House Whip last month. No changes are expected when Senate Democrats hold a Thursday evening caucus to vote on leadership.