Who's Running For Office in Rhode Island In 2018?

Jun 27, 2018

The House of Representatives chamber at the Statehouse.
Credit Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

The filing deadline to declare a campaign for public office in Rhode Island passed at 4 p.m. Thursday. But final details have not yet been filed by cities and towns with the Secretary of State's office, so information is incomplete at this point.

This report will be expanded as more details become available.

Here are some highlights from what we do know:

-- Based on the latest information, it appears that 42 state representatives and senators will not face an opponent for re-election. There appear to be as many as 18 primaries in the Rhode Island House, and 13 in the Senate. These numbers could shrink since candidates have to return a certain number of valid signatures in mid-July.

-- State Rep. Bobby Nardolillo (R-Coventry) has ended his Republican primary run against Robert Flanders, for the seat held by U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse. "It is with great personal disappointment that I conclude my fourteen month campaign for the US Senate." Nardolillo said. "The Challenge of raising sufficient funds for a national class run has proved too great for me. That fact has led to making my organization too small to effectively communicate the benefits of my candidacy statewide. Although my strong instinct is to keep fighting. My political experience informs me that mounting a primary challenge to the Endorsed Republican would ultimately only benefit Mr. Whitehouse."

-- In a surprise, state Rep. Ken Marshall (D-Bristol), a senior deputy majority leader, has decided against seeking re-election. "At 50 years old with my last child of four children who is now 15, I wanted to be closer to enjoy, witness and be there," Marshall told RIPR. "Life goes by quick. I leave, leaving the door wide open," after 21 years in state and local government, he said. "I will be watching -- that's a promise!" Marshall was first elected as a rep in 2012. Laufton Ascencao, a rising figure in Rhode Island's progressive scene, had previously announced a campaign for the seat held by Marshall. Andrew Tyska is also running as a Democrat.

-- Two former state reps, Jan Malik and Doug Gablinske, are trying to win back seats in the General Assembly. Malik is running as an independent against Rep. Jason Knight (D-Barrington), who beat Malik in 2016. Gablinske is running as an independent against Rep. Susan Donovan (D-Bristol). (Another former rep, Scott Guthrie, is also running for the seat held by Rep. Nardolillo, of Coventry.)

-- Pawtucket Rep. David Coughlin (D), has also decided against seeking re-election.

-- Eleven candidates have filed to run for governor. The list includes Democrats Gina Raimondo, Matt Brown and former state Rep. Spencer Dickinson; Republicans Allan Fung, Patricia Morgan and Giovanni Feroce; Moderate William Gilbert, independents Luis Daniel Munoz, Rebecca McLaughlin, Joseph Trillo; and Anne Armsrong of the Compassion Party. To qualify for the ballot, the candidates have to collect 1,000 valid signatures by July 16.

-- One of the top legislative races to watch is Republican Steve Frias' challenge for the Cranston state rep seat held by Democratic House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello. In 2016, Mattiello edged Frias by 85 votes.

-- Republican Michael Riley, who ran a losing challenge to Democratic U.S. Rep. Jim Langevin in 2012, has filed to run against Democratic General Treasurer Seth Magaziner, according to RI GOP Chairman Brandon Bell.

-- Bell is running against Rep. Alex Marszalkowsi (D-Cumberland), who won a narrow victory in 2016 to make it into the House. “We need to challenge the status quo or problems will fester," Bell said in a statement. "And yes, the status quo is powerful because people on Smith Hill have benefited from it. People who benefited from it want to keep it the same.”

-- Democrat John Carnevale hopes to unseat state Rep. Ramon Perez (D-Providence.) Perez won election in 2016. Carnevale decided not to seek re-election that year after the Providence Board of Canvassers determined he did not live in his Providence district. Carnevale disputed the findings.

-- Former U.S. Attorney Peter Neronha is the lone major party candidate for attorney general. Charles Picerno is running as an independent, and Alan Gordon is running as a Compassion Party candidate.

-- Sue Stenhouse and former Providence Journal reporter Ged Carbone are among the people who say they'll vie with Warwick Mayor Joseph Solomon for that post.

This post has been updated.