RHODE ISLAND
     Nov. 8, 2022 Governor

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+Daniel McKee (D) i
207,166
57.92%
Ashley Kalus (R)
139,001
38.86%
Zachary Hurwitz (I)
4,512
1.26%
Paul A. Rianna, Jr. (I)
3,123
0.87%
Elijah Gizzarelli (L)
2,811
0.79%
write-ins
1,057
0.30%

357,670

Plurality: 68,165 votes (19.06 percentage points).
  RI Board of Elections




Notes
:  
Then-Lt. Gov. Dan McKee (D) was sworn  as governor on Mar. 2, 2021 succeeding Gov. Gina Raimondo (D), who resigned to join the Biden administration as U.S. Secretary of Commerce. 
McKee defeated businesswoman and healthcare executive Ashley Kalus (D) (>) as well as Zach Hurwitz (I), an 18-year old freshman at the University of Rhode Island, Paul A. Rianna, Jr (I), and Army veteran Elijah Gizzarelli (L).
 
McKee
started out working in the family business.  He served eight years on the Cumberland City Council and 12 years as Mayor of Cumberland.  He was elected lieutenant governor in 2014 and re-elected in 2018. 

McKee ran with Lt. Gov. Sabina Matos, a Dominican American who formerly served on the Providence City Council.  In Oct. 2021 his administration rolled out a "Rhode Island 2030" document setting forth its priorities.  McKee—or his administration—faced an FBI investigation into a controversial multi-million dollar education contract awarded to ILO Group, a consulting firm to which he had ties; Kalus brought this up repeatedly during the campaign.

Kalus was a newcomer to Rhode Island, having moved to Newport in 2021, and critics labeled her a carpetbagger.  In the early days of the pandemic, Kalus and her husband formed Doctors Test Centers, a COVID testing company.  They owned a house in Illinois and were registered to vote in Florida.  Earlier in her career, Kalus worked as coalitions coordinator in the administration of Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner and coalitions coordinator on Rauner's 2014 campaign.  She is also a Golden Gloves boxing champion.  Kalus announced her candidacy on Mar. 22, 2022 (>).  She ran a largely self-funded campaign, ultimately putting $4.97 million into the effort.

The general election was filled with sharp, nasty attacks between McKee and Kalus, amplified by very negative ads. 

The two debated four times:

Oct. 11 - hosted by WPRI-TV at their studios in Providence (>); 

Oct. 13 - hosted by The Providence Journal and The Public's Radio at Rhode Island College in Providence.  In addition, immediately following the main forum, the three independent candidates had a separate half-hour forum (>);

Oct. 31 - radio debate at WPRO studio in East Providence (>);

Nov. 3 - hosted by WJAR-TV at Rhode Island College in Providence (>).

As the campaign drew to a close, polling showed the race to be relatively close.  The Providence Journal reported the DGA "committed at least $260,000 to a final ad buy for McKee."  The final vote tally showed a much wider than expected margin of just over 19 percentage points.

September 13 Primaries
McKee
drew several strong Democratic challengers, making for a competitive last-in-the-nation Sept. 13 primary campaign.  He formally launched his bid for a full term in an event at a small business in East Providence on Feb. 22, 2022 (>).  He has secured a number of significant endorsements including from municipal leaders, House Speaker Joe Shekarchi and Senate President Dominick Ruggerio, and, on June 26, 2022 the Rhode Island Democratic Party at their convention.

Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea finished a strong second at the RI Democratic Party convention in June 2022.  She announced her candidacy on May 23, 2021 (>).  Gorbea was elected in 2014 and re-elected in 2018, becoming the first Latina elected to statewide office in Rhode Island.  Previously she served for 5 1/2 years as executive director of HousingWorks RI and as Deputy Secretary of State (Director of Administration) from 2002 to 2006.  She is originally from Puerto Rico.

Former Secretary of State Matt Brown announced for governor on Sept. 22, 2021, teaming with state State Cynthia Mendes for lieutenant governor
(>)Brown is seeking to build on his 2018 run for governor, when he challenged Gov. Raimondo in the primary and won 33.5% of the vote against the incumbent.  In announcing his 2022 bid Brown declared, "Rhode Island is run by the most corrupt political machine in America."  Brown, vice president of the progressive Rhode Island Political Cooperative, uses the hashtag #wholenewgovernment and said he will align with a group of 50 progressive candidates backed by the Co-op.  Before his 2018 run, Brown co-founded (2008) and ran Global Zero, a nonprofit which worked to eliminate nuclear weapons.  In 2002 he was elected Secretary of State, and served one term to Jan. 2007.  He also ran briefly for U.S. Senate in 2006. 

Former CVS executive Helena Foulkes entered the race on Oct. 13, 2021 (>).  Foulkes worked at CVS Health for more than 25 years starting at mid-level and working up to senior executive roles including president of CVS Pharmacy and executive vice president of CVS Health; subsequently she worked for two years as CEO of Hudson's Bay Company.


Also running in the Democratic primary was Luis Daniel Muñoz, a  quality assurance specialist/technician endorsed by former presidential candidate and Forward Party founder Andrew Yang, also ran for governor in 2018, winning 1.65% as an independent candidate.

Candidates participated in forums starting in May 2022.  The five Democrats and Kalus met in a forum hosted by the Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council (RIPEC) on May 5 (>).  Four Democrats and Kalus participated in the "Raising Rhode Islanders Out of Poverty" forum on May 28 (>).  In the closing weeks there were broadcast debates:

Aug. 15 - All five Democrats engaged in a radio debate at WPRO studios (>).

Aug. 31 - All five Democrats debated at Johnson & Wales University in Providence broadcast by NBC 10 WJAR (>).

Sept. 6 - The four top Democrats participated in a final debate at Rhode Island College, broadcast by WPRI 12 (>).

On Election Night, the Democratic primary was a nail-biter, but McKee ultimately prevailed gaining 32.8% of the vote followed by Foulkes (29.9%), Gorbea (26.2%), Brown (8.0%) and
Muñoz (3.1%).

In contrast to the Democratic primary, the Republican primary garnered little attention.  Kalus defeated Jonathan Riccitelli by 83.7% to 16.3%.


Campaign Managers:
Dan McKee:  Brexton Isaacs
(Nov. 2021)  Campaign manager on Dana Balter for Congress (NY), Sept. 2019-Nov. 2020.  Campaign manager on Betsy Rader for Congress (OH), Jan.-Nov. 2018.  Campaign manager on Cavanaugh for State Senate (NH) special election, Apr.-Aug. 2017.  Regional organizing director in Sioux City for the Iowa Democratic Party, May-Nov. 2016; deputy organizer on Hillary for America, starting in Iowa City then CO and WA, Nov. 2015-May 2016.  Field organizer in Sterling for the Democratic Party of Virginia, July-Nov. 2015.  Field organizer in IL-13 for the DCCC, Aug.-Nov. 2014; research assistant on Friends of Cheri Bustos, May-Aug. 2014.  Bachelor's degree in political science from Illinois Wesleyan University, 2015.

Ashley Kalus:  Evan Gillissie
Previously federal policy and government relations coordinator for TechNet from Feb. 2021.  Research assistant at Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, Sept. 2019-Feb. 2021.  Executive assistant to the director (Aug. 2018-Sept. 2019) and executive assistant to the chief of staff (Feb. 2018-Jan. 2019) at the Consumer Finincial Protection Bureau.  Confidential assistant to the General Counsel at OMB, May 2017-Feb. 2018.  Scheduler for U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford, Feb.-Nay 2017.  In Fall 2016 worked on Richard Burr's Senate re-election campaign in NC then on the McCrory recount.  Campaign manager on Fung for Mayor, May-Sept. 2016.  Deputy communications director on Fung for Governor, Jan.-Nov. 2014.  Bachelor's degree in politics from The Catholic University of America.  Born and raised in Cranston, RI.



See also:
Robert Nobrega.  "Ashley Kalus Campaign Behind the Scenes, RI Republican Comeback? Evan Gillissie."  FireBreathinRob, Nov. 28, 2022.

Dan McGowan.  "All the TV ads in the R.I. governor's race."  Boston Globe, updated, Oct. 32, 2022.

Patrick Anderson.  "Republican Ashley Kalus aims to shake up political status quo as RI governor."  Providence Journal, Oct. 22, 2022.

Katherine Gregg.  "Questions swirl amid Ashley Kalus and Gov. Dan McKee's still unreleased tax returns."  Providence Journal, Sept. 22, 2022.

Linda Borg.  "What to know about the state-awarded ILO contract and federal investigation."  Providence Journal, Mar. 25, 2022, updated Sept. 2, 2022.

Ted Nesi.  "McKee wins RI Dem Party endorsement."  WPRI, June 26, 2022.


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