PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — For the first time in more than a decade, Rhode Islanders will be sending a new lawmaker to Washington.
Currently, there are two Republicans in the race to replace retiring Congressman Jim Langevin: Allan Fung and Robert Lancia. There are also seven Democrats: Seth Magaziner, Omar Bah, Joy Fox, Sarah Morgenthau, Cameron Moquin, Michael Neary and David Segal.
With much of the country’s attention focused on the economy, members of one party are hoping they could score an upset in the race for the coveted Congressional seat.
There are just about four months to go until primary election day and the campaign for the 2nd Congressional District race is just starting to take shape.
12 News Political Analyst Joe Fleming says an early indicator of how the race may shape up lies in the campaign war chests.
“We’re going to put some meat on the bones. I think you are going to see the candidates doing that and it takes money,” Fleming explained. “And that’s the advantage Seth Magaziner has right now and Allan Fung right now for the two primaries.”
Historically, the 1st Congressional District in Rhode Island is a Democratic stronghold.
“CD2 only leans Democrat, where CD1 is a strong Democratic district, so Republicans would have a chance in a general election CD2 with a strong candidate,” Fleming said. “Right now you have Allan Fung who people perceive as a strong candidate for the Republicans.”
All signs are pointing to a challenging midterm election for President Joe Biden and the Democrats. According to a new NPR Marist Poll, more than 47% of registered voters surveyed indicated they are likely to vote for the Republican in the district. Additionally, Independent voters also favor Republicans by seven points.
“People are looking at their pocketbooks and they are saying ‘we have the Democrats controlling Congress and our pocketbooks are getting less for our money, gas prices are out of control, and we need to do something,’ so people may be open to voting for a Republican where they normally may not,” Fleming explained. “So I think that’s an advantage Republicans could have in Rhode Island at this point.”
With four months to go, Fleming says some of the candidates have low voter name recognition but expects that to change quickly with paid media spots popping up likely by late spring or early summer.
“That is something that you need to get your message across and get voters to know you,” he continued. “To just see you walk down the street is one thing, but they want to know a little more about you
Fleming also noted it’s possible some of the candidates may opt out of the race before the official filing date in June, or before the primary itself.
Democrats are still hoping to maintain their House majority and know they are going to have to work hard to defend their seats as the Republicans work hard to flip as many seats as they can during the midterms.
“If Republicans see an opportunity, if they see polling numbers that show Republicans have a chance in CD2 I think we will see money come in, we’ll see outside groups coming in to support the Republican candidate to try and flip it,” Fleming said.
It’s already been a pricy campaign with candidates in total raising more than $3 million, as they prepare to start a flurry of advertising in the next few weeks to get their campaign messages out.