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The Latest: Democratic House speaker wins re-election

November 7, 2018

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The Latest on the midterm elections in Rhode Island (all times local):

11:35 p.m.

Democratic state House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello has been narrowly re-elected in his district after an organized effort to oust him.

Cranston voters returned Mattiello to the House on Tuesday over Republican Steven Frias. The state elections board added partial mail ballot results to their count late Tuesday night, putting Mattiello ahead by more than 300 votes.

Mattiello, one of Rhode Island’s most powerful politicians, campaigned on his successes as speaker, including phasing out the car tax. It was a rematch from 2016, when Frias lost by 85 votes.

The Rhode Island chapter of the National Organization for Women and the Rhode Island Coalition Against Gun Violence had encouraged Cranston residents to vote him out. The traditionally Democrat-aligned groups wanted Mattiello to address women’s rights and extend the time limit for filing child abuse lawsuits, among other issues. Mattiello has also recently faced criticism over how he has handled sexual harassment claims at the state house.

Mattiello said his new opponents were “extreme progressive groups.”

He was first elected in 2006.

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10:55 p.m.

Democratic House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello has won more votes than his Republican challenger, but the final result could depend on mail ballots that still have not been counted.

Mattiello appeared to be winning in his Cranston district Tuesday night over Republican Steven Frias. The state elections board reported Mattiello ahead by 141 votes.

A board spokesman said mail ballots hadn’t been counted yet, and the board meets Wednesday morning to certify the ballots.

Mattiello beat Frias by 85 votes in 2016.

Mattiello, one of Rhode Island’s most powerful politicians, campaigned on his successes as speaker, including phasing out the car tax.

The Rhode Island chapter of the National Organization for Women and the Rhode Island Coalition Against Gun Violence encouraged Cranston residents to vote him out. The traditionally Democrat-aligned groups wanted Mattiello to address women’s rights and extend the time limit for filing child abuse lawsuits, among other issues.

Mattiello said his new opponents were “extreme progressive groups.”

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10:05 p.m.

Rhode Island voters have approved nearly $50 million for environmental and recreational projects throughout the state.

The ballot question, approved Tuesday, provides $47.3 million for 10 initiatives.

Among the projects, $5 million will be used to make improvements to wastewater treatment facilities to guard against flooding, $5 million will be used for the state’s system of bike paths and nearly $8 million will be used to provide capital for clean water and drinking water projects.

The bond was backed by environmental organizations, labor officials, tourism councils and others.

The money will also be used to protect farmland, preserve open space, ensure that dams are safe, clean up former industrial sites, help protect coastal habitats and support local recreation projects.

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10 p.m.

Rhode Island voters have approved a $70 million bond for higher education facilities.

The ballot question, approved Tuesday, provides $45 million for the University of Rhode Island Narragansett Bay campus and $25 million for the Rhode Island College Feinstein School of Education and Human Development.

The Narragansett Bay campus is home to the Graduate School of Oceanography, a top oceanographic institution. The university plans to build a large Ocean Technology building to serve as a hub for scientific innovation, discovery and collaboration. It will use the rest of the money to upgrade its pier for a new research vessel, modernize its technology and build a marine operations facility.

Rhode Island College will renovate the building that houses its school of education, which was built in 1971? and hasn’t been updated.

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9:50 p.m.

Democrat Seth Magaziner has won a second four-year term as general treasurer in Rhode Island.

Magaziner defeated Republican Michael Riley Tuesday.

Magaziner says he ran for re-election because he wanted to continue using the office to help contribute to the state’s economic recovery. Magaziner started a program last year to support local financial institutions as they lend to small businesses.

Riley, a financial adviser, told voters he could use his experience to better manage the state’s pension fund.

Riley told supporters in September not to donate because he likely wouldn’t win.

Magaziner says he’ll meet with business and labor groups, municipal leaders and others to determine how he can be most helpful now.

He says he’ll focus on financial education and cracking down on predatory financial services, among other priorities.

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9:40 p.m.

Democrat Peter Neronha, former U.S. attorney, has been elected Rhode Island attorney general.

Neronha faced no significant opposition Tuesday. Republicans didn’t put forward a candidate.

Neronha says he ran because his work for Rhode Island wasn’t finished. He was one of 46 U.S. attorneys appointed by President Barack Obama who President Donald Trump ordered to resign.

Neronha spearheaded several investigations into public corruption during nearly eight years as the state’s top federal prosecutor. He says corruption continues to be a significant issue.

Democratic Attorney General Peter Kilmartin is term-limited.

Neronha says he’ll fight for a criminal justice system that’s smart, not one size fits all. He wants to use the civil division more proactively on taxpayers’ behalf and use the office’s bully pulpit to address the opioid crisis.

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9:35 p.m.

Democrat Nellie Gorbea has won a second four-year term as secretary of state in Rhode Island.

Gorbea defeated Republican Pat Cortellessa Tuesday.

Gorbea wants to build on her work to ensure that elections are fast, fair and accurate, that government is transparent and businesses have the information they need to start and thrive.

Cortellessa ran out of concern about voter fraud. He wanted to strengthen voter registration requirements. He’s against online voter registration, which Gorbea supports to increase voter participation.

Gorbea wants to examine giving people more time to register to vote before elections, which would require a constitutional change.

She says she’ll push for a bill to allow early voting and she’s looking to take a larger role in economic development. She has proposed building a new state archives.

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9:30 p.m.

Democratic Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza has won a second term after fending off a challenge from independent Dee Dee Witman.

Elorza was re-elected Tuesday. He ran on his record, telling voters he could continue improving the city’s finances, schools and quality of life.

Witman questioned Elorza’s leadership, criticizing his handling of a teachers’ contract and recent school bus drivers’ strike. She said she would get rid of contentious school zone speed cameras.

Witman, a political fundraiser, loaned her campaign $500,000, according to finance reports. She was backed by the Providence Police Union and by retired Providence police officers and firefighters.

Elorza was first elected in 2014, beating former Providence mayor and two-time felon Buddy Cianci.

Elorza has been critical of President Donald Trump’s immigration policies.

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9 p.m.

Rhode Island voters have approved a $250 million bond for the first phase of an ambitious plan to rebuild schools.

The ballot question was approved Tuesday. Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo championed it, asking voters to make a “once-in-a-generation investment to fix our schools” after years of neglect.

The money, spread over five years, will help municipalities build, renovate and modernize schools as part of a 10-year plan.

Voters will be asked to approve another $250 million in 2022.

The state plans to continue spending about $80 million annually on school repairs. The money from the state, combined with matching funds from municipalities, is expected to eventually total more than $2 billion.

Several municipalities have local questions on Tuesday’s ballot asking voters for permission to borrow money for school infrastructure repairs.

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8:57 p.m.

Democrat Dan McKee has won a second four-year term as lieutenant governor in Rhode Island.

McKee defeated Republican Paul Pence and independent and moderate candidates Tuesday.

McKee campaigned on his experience as the incumbent and a former six-term mayor of Cumberland.

Pence hasn’t held elected office. He campaigned on being an outsider who could make government functions more effective, efficient and responsive.

McKee says he wants to continue working to make Rhode Island better, whether that’s advocating for the small business community, intervening with the Public Utilities Commission to help people save on electricity costs or helping figure out how the state can better provide services for residents with Alzheimer’s disease.

He also wants to talk to lawmakers about studying the possibility of expanding the position’s powers.

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8:55 p.m.

U.S. Rep. David Cicilline has won re-election after fending off a challenge from Republican Patrick Donovan.

The Rhode Island Democrat cruised to victory Tuesday in the 1st Congressional District, which covers the easternmost part of the state. He’ll serve a fifth term.

He has a rising profile in the national Democratic Party and is outspoken in his criticism of President Donald Trump.

Cicilline says Democrats will prioritize addressing the rising cost of health care, particularly prescription drugs, investing in infrastructure and reforming how money is spent in elections.

Cicilline, of Providence, is proud of a proposal to help manufacturers that became law this year. He is also trying to make college affordable.

Donovan, a stay-at-home father from Newport, tried to cast himself as someone who would be more attuned to residents’ needs.

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8:50 p.m.

U.S. Rep. James Langevin has won re-election after fending off a challenge from Republican Salvatore Caiozzo (ky-OH’-zoh).

The Rhode Island Democrat cruised to victory Tuesday in the 2nd Congressional District in western Rhode Island. Langevin will serve a 10th term.

Langevin, of Warwick, says he wants to continue fighting for a stronger middle class, affordable health care, quality education and better jobs with higher wages.

Caiozzo, a retired businessman from West Greenwich, ran for the seat in 2016 as an independent, finishing last. He told voters he is neither left nor right and could solve problems.

One of Langevin’s top priorities is protecting the nation against cyber threats. He also wants to make sure a bill he pushed for to strengthen career and technical education is implemented robustly.

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8:35 p.m.

Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo has been re-elected to a second term in Rhode Island.

Raimondo, the state’s first female governor, beat Republican Allan Fung on Tuesday.

Raimondo campaigned on a promise to continue the state’s economic momentum. She wants to continue offering tax credits and incentives to attract companies to Rhode Island.

Rhode Island’s unemployment rate recently reached its lowest point in nearly 30 years.

Raimondo told voters Fung and independent Joe Trillo would take the state backward. She raised more and outspent them by a large margin.

Fung, the Cranston mayor, tried to portray Raimondo as incompetent. He said he would lower the sales tax.

Raimondo says she will seek to expand job training programs she started, make larger investments in helping small businesses and expand a free college tuition program.

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8:10 p.m.

U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse has won re-election after fending off a challenge from Republican Bob Flanders.

The Rhode Island Democrat was elected to a third term in the Senate on Tuesday.

Whitehouse, of Newport, was first elected in 2006. He is known for being one of the leading voices in the Senate to do more to address climate change.

He successfully pushed for legislation and funding to address the nationwide opioid epidemic.

Flanders, a former state Supreme Court justice from East Greenwich, criticized Whitehouse’s focus on climate change. Flanders said he would be more effective in Washington.

Whitehouse says he wants to protect people’s health care, get rid of anonymous “dark money” spending in political campaigns and pass a bill to charge a fee for carbon pollution, among other priorities.

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7:30 p.m.

A polling place in Rhode Island has been evacuated due to a gas leak.

The state elections board says the polling place at Portsmouth High School was evacuated by the local fire department due to the leak Tuesday night.

It was moved to a different gym at the same school and voting hours will be extended by the amount of time it took to move the polling place.

The elections board says more than 337,000 residents statewide had voted as of 7 p.m., out of nearly 790,000 registered voters. That’s nearly 43 percent.

In the 2014 election, 44 percent of the state’s voters cast ballots.

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2:35 p.m.

Yaseen Nagib says his generation needs to be heard.

The 18-year-old Classical High School senior from Providence voted for the first time Tuesday just days after his birthday.

He says his generation has different opinions on issues than older people, and “we need to be heard on these issues.”

He said education was the most important issue to him.

He called Republican President Donald Trump “a racist and a liar,” and voted Democratic.

Julie Shore, a 32-year-old a yoga teacher, usually only votes in presidential elections, but felt she needed to vote in the midterms after “seeing how the world has been going in the last few years since Trump came into office.”

Moshe Moskowitz, a 34-year-old Providence man, described himself as “purple” on the issues, said he decided it was time for a change in the governor’s office.

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12 p.m.

Voting in a Rhode Island community only accessible by ferry was interrupted briefly after the sole voting machine on the island malfunctioned.

The Rhode Island Board of Elections tweeted at about 9 a.m. Tuesday that the machine on Prudence Island “experienced a technical difficulty.”

A new machine was ferried over and the board said the polling place is operating normally and all ballots have been counted.

Prudence Island in Narragansett Bay is part of the town of Portsmouth and has a population of about 200.

The board also said as of 11 a.m., more than 135,000 residents statewide had voted.

Rhode Islanders are voting in a three-way race for governor, and for congressional seats.

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5:55 a.m.

Rhode Island voters are choosing between Democratic incumbents asking for more time and Republican challengers calling for change.

Polls close at 8 p.m. Tuesday. Voters are deciding between Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo and Republican Allan Fung. Independent Joe Trillo could act as a spoiler.

Raimondo and Fung were their parties’ nominees in 2014.

Also at the top of the ballot, Democratic U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse faces Republican Bob Flanders. Democratic Reps. James Langevin and David Cicilline also face Republican challengers.

Question 1 on the ballot asks voters’ permission to spend $250 million for the first phase of an ambitious plan to rebuild schools.

The hypercharged national political environment is expected to drive record turnout in some places. Forty-four percent of Rhode Island’s registered voters cast ballots in 2014.

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