The state’s top Democrats flocked to Johnston in droves on Election Day Eve in an attempt to deliver their message one last time before voters head to the polls. Their results on Election Day were definitely positive for local candidates, but mixed when it came to Johnston voters casting a ballot for the state’s top officials.
The entire federal delegation, Governor Gina Raimondo, representatives of the state’s highest offices, and local officials joined Mayor Joseph Polisena at the Johnston Democratic Town Committee headquarters for a pep rally designed to deliver a message: this election is the most important in a generation.
“I don’t have to tell you how important this election is for all of us. From Westerly to Woonsocket, from Johnston to Jamestown, we really have to make sure that we get a blue line right down the middle, especially in Rhode Island,” said Polisena, who went on to win his race. “We really have to make sure that Democrats get in, because if not, we’re going to be in bigger trouble than we are in now.”
Polisena encouraged the standing room only crowd of over 250 people to call their friends, relatives, and neighbors to get out and vote.
Senator Jack Reed said that the state has a great Democratic team in Washington, D.C., and that the momentum currently driving the state forward would continue under their leadership.
“There are more people working today in Rhode Island than in our history. We can’t stop now, we’ve got to do better and we have to do more,” said Reed. “Across this country, we have to elect a Democratic Congress. Only a Democratic Congress can be a check and balance against a Republican president who disrespects the presidency and disrespects us by his behavior, by his comments, and by his policies.”
Reed added that the men and women serving in the armed forces across the globe are “giving everything they’ve got” and that voters should exercise their right to vote.
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse said it was good to end the campaign in Johnston, where the Democratic party is open to “everyone and where it runs a smooth and effective and smart and delivers for the people.” He said he was proud to serve with his fellow delegation and complimented their service.
“The jury is out. Let’s hope we have a great day tomorrow with a Democratic sweep across the country,” said Whitehouse. “This can be a turn in America’s destiny and it can be a turn for the better.”
While Whitehouse went on to lose in Johnston to Republican Robert Flanders, he won his reelection bid.
Congressman Jim Langevin said it had been a long and hard-fought campaign on both sides. He said that there was much at stake for all elected officials that touched on issues such as healthcare, senior’s issues, sovereign security and climate change. Langevin added that the current delegation is in “lockstep” on all of the issues that matter to their constituents.
“We know what it means when we say we have to fight harder to grow the middle class, to fight harder for better jobs and higher wages, and affordable healthcare,” said Langevin. “The Republicans are leading us in the wrong direction, catering to corporations and high net worth individuals, with proof in the tax cut that they just passed, with crumbs for working families.
We’re going to change that by retaking the United States Congress and having a Democratic Majority in the U.S. House.”
Langevin lost some areas of Johnston. However, he did win in town overall.
While Congressman David Cicciline thanked those in the room, including the large contingent of labor representatives in the room, he said he would continue to focus on health insurance and pre-existing conditions, infrastructure, environmental regulations and tax relief while protecting Social Security.
“If there was ever a question in your mind about what Republicans stand for and what we’re fighting for, this election is all about that,” said Cicciline, who won his reelection bid. “We’re moving forward, we went from one of the worst economies in the country to the ninth best.”
Other candidates, including Lieutenant Governor Daniel McKee, Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea, Treasurer Seth Magaziner, and Attorney General candidate Peter Neronha, also focused on the state’s low unemployment, improved infrastructure, and need for unity and civility in government. All four won their respective races.
Governor Gina Raimondo, who received accolades from each of the speakers, and who was greeted by chants of “four more years,” shared stories of commercial development, economic successes, and putting to people to work during her administration.
“That stuff doesn’t happen by accident. It happens when you elect Democrats on a team to work together and put the people first,” she said, asking the audience to support the Democratic delegation. “We work as a team. Tonight, we’ve done everything we can do; at this point it’s all get out the vote. So go to bed early, get up and eat your Wheaties, get out there tomorrow, knock on doors, call your friends, call your neighbors and get that Democratic vote out.”
However, efforts on behalf of the governor in town fell short, as she lost the town vote to Mayor Allan Fung.