Sen. Whitehouse re-elected, other races still to be decided

Published 11-07-2018

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse was re-elected Tuesday after fending off a challenge from Republican Bob Flanders in Rhode Island, where voters were also deciding between Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo and Republican Allan Fung in a race with an independent candidate who could act as a spoiler.

The Senate race was called shortly after polls closed at 8 p.m.

Whitehouse is known for being one of the leading voices in the Senate to do more to address climate change. He told voters he wanted to return to Washington for a third term 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. Flanders is a former state Supreme Court justice.

The state Board of Elections said that as of 7 p.m., more than 337,000 residents statewide had voted 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.

The only problems reported by the board were a malfunctioning voting machine on Prudence Island and an electrical issue at a polling place in Portsmouth. A new machine was ferried over to Prudence Island, and the board said the polling place was operating normally and all ballots have been counted. The polling place in Portsmouth was relocated and voting hours were extended.

Yaseen Nagib, 18, a senior at Providence's Classical High School, voted for the first time Tuesday just days after his birthday.

"Younger people need to vote. So I want to do my part," he said. "We have different opinions on issues than older people, and we need to be heard on these issues."

Nagib said education, both locally and nationally, was the most important issue to him.

He called Republican President Donald Trump a "racist, and a liar," and voted Democrat across the board, including for incumbent Gov. Gina Raimondo over Republican Allan Fung, who supports Trump.

Raimondo, the state's first female governor, is seeking a second term. Fung is the mayor of Cranston. If elected, he would become the state's first Asian-American governor. A third candidate, Joe Trillo, is a former state lawmaker who left the Republican Party to run for governor as an independent.

Raimondo and Fung were their parties' nominees in 2014. Raimondo won then with 41 percent of the vote over Fung's 36 percent in a three-way race.

Rhode Island's two representatives in the U.S. House, Democratic Reps. James Langevin and David Cicilline, face Rep

"Younger people need to vote. So I want to do my part," he said. "We have different opinions on issues than older people, and we need to be heard on these issues."

Nagib said education, both locally and nationally, was the most important issue to him.

He called Republican President Donald Trump a "racist, and a liar," and voted Democrat across the board, including for incumbent Gov. Gina Raimondo over Republican Allan Fung, who supports Trump.

Raimondo, the state's first female governor, is seeking a second term. Fung is the mayor of Cranston. If elected, he would become the state's first Asian-American governor. A third candidate, Joe Trillo, is a former state lawmaker who left the Republican Party to run for governor as an independent.

Raimondo and Fung were their parties' nominees in 2014. Raimondo won then with 41 percent of the vote over Fung's 36 percent in a three-way race.

Rhode Island's two representatives in the U.S. House, Democratic Reps. James Langevin and David Cicilline, face Republican challengers. Voters will choose between Langevin, who's seeking a 10th term, and Republican Salvatore Caiozzo, a retired businessman, and between Cicilline, who's seeking a fifth term, and Republican Patrick Donovan, a stay-at-home father.

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. Sixty percent voted in the 2016 presidential election.

Steven Reiff, 34, voted in Warwick, though he doesn't usually vote in midterms. Reiff, an independent, said he typically votes for politicians from both parties, but he supported Democrats this year, including Raimondo.

"Just the general turmoil in the White House brought me out to vo

He called Republican President Donald Trump a "racist, and a liar," and voted Democrat across the board, including for incumbent Gov. Gina Raimondo over Republican Allan Fung, who supports Trump.

Raimondo, the state's first female governor, is seeking a second term. Fung is the mayor of Cranston. If elected, he would become the state's first Asian-American governor. A third candidate, Joe Trillo, is a former state lawmaker who left the Republican Party to run for governor as an independent.

Raimondo and Fung were their parties' nominees in 2014. Raimondo won then with 41 percent of the vote over Fung's 36 percent in a three-way race.

Rhode Island's two representatives in the U.S. House, Democratic Reps. James Langevin and David Cicilline, face Republican challengers. Voters will choose between Langevin, who's seeking a 10th term, and Republican Salvatore Caiozzo, a retired businessman, and between Cicilline, who's seeking a fifth term, and Republican Patrick Donovan, a stay-at-home father.

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. Sixty percent voted in the 2016 presidential election.

Steven Reiff, 34, voted in Warwick, though he doesn't usually vote in midterms. Reiff, an independent, said he typically votes for politicians from both parties, but he supported Democrats this year, including Raimondo.

"Just the general turmoil in the White House brought me out to vote. I feel like it's more important this year than other years," said Reiff, who works in health care.

Ben Pietrzyk, 77, also voted in Warwick. He said he's an independent and he likes Trump's policies, particularly on immigration. He supported Republican candidates, including Fung.

"The issues Trump is bringing up are important to me," he said. "I like the direction he's going in."

Question 1 on the ballot asks voters' permission to spend $250 million over five years to help municipalities build new schools and renovate existing facilities as part of a 10-year plan.

In local races, one of Rhode Island's most powerful politicians, Democratic House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello, is up for re-election in his Cranston district against a Republican rival that came close to beating him in 2016, Steven Frias. Democratic Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza faces independent Dee Dee Witman.

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For AP's complete coverage of the U.S. midterm elections: http://apne.ws/APPolitics

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