Democrats host meet-and-greet ahead of 1st Congressional District special election

WARREN, R.I. (WLNE) — The deadline to make the ballot for Rhode Island’s 1st Congressional District special election is July 14.

The seat opened up following Democrat David Cicilline’s resignation back in May, leading to dozens of candidates throwing their hats in the ring.

The Barrington, Bristol, and Warren Democrats hosted an event Thursday evening at The Guild in Warren to give Rhode Islanders a chance to meet a handful of the candidates running for the first congressional district.

Rhode Island hasn’t had a congressional special election since 1967, and candidates have come out in the masses with hopes of filling the position.

“I think it’s very important to have one on one conversations with candidates,” said co-chair of the Warren Democratic Town Committee, June Speakman. 

“And because Rhode Island is so small, and our politics are so intimate, these events really do help. They do help voters get to learn who the candidates are,” Speakman elaborated. 

With 35 potential candidates, voters need all the help they could get to narrow down their options.

“I started out feeling like I had somebody I was absolutely going to support. But then in conversations with my friends and neighbors I’ve sort of broadened out my considerations of other candidates as well,” Cynthia Rosengard, an attendee said.

Some candidates came with more name recognition than others, including Lt. Gov. Sabina Matos and former state Rep. Aaron Regunburg.

Regunburg told ABC 6 News that his campaign qualified for the ballot earlier this week.

“We qualified for the ballot a few days ago, but again you can never be too safe. It’s always good to get more signatures and again, it’s just great to talk to people in the East Bay and hear about the issues that folks are feeling in their communities,” Regunburg explained.

Matos told ABC 6 that there is some benefit to being a household name in a race this crowded, but nothing is guaranteed.

“It’s good to be able to come with that support and that base to start with in a campaign. Nothing is guaranteed, campaigns take a lot of work, and you have to work really hard to make sure you connect with the voters and let them know why you’re interested in running for office. But I feel very fortunate to be in this position right now,” Matos said.

Candidates unable to reach 500 signatures on their nomination will not be eligible for the ballot. After that, the next step is the primary election on Sept. 5.

Categories: News, Rhode Island