Huge wins for Rhode Island

Last night was a huge night for champions of working families’ priorities. It was also a great first election for the Working Families Party in RI.

We should be very proud of gutsy endorsements we made of champions for working families against much more conservative and powerful opponents. All four of the challengers we endorsed — Jason Knight, Moira Walsh, Jeanine Calkin, and Marcia Ranglin-Vassell — won their races. Each of these folks took the fight to their opponents on $15 an hour minimum wage, paid sick days and other working families priorities.

Overall, 7 of RI WFP’s 10 endorsed candidates won their races, including the important defenses of Rep. Teresa Tanzi and Rep. Kathy Fogarty, and winning Susan Donovan’s race in an open seat. This is an enormous record for our very first election cycle.

The message these victories sends is clear—voters are hungry for bold progressive policy.

Our contributions helped make the difference. For example:

  • The WFP independent expenditure campaign had almost a 1000 conversations with voters in Marcia’s district.
  • Our PAC distributed a mailer that drew a sharp contrast between Sen. Walaska and Jeanine Calkin.
  • We worked closely with campaigns so first-time candidates could build winning operations.
  • Jason Knight said simply, “I could not have done it without Working Families.”

We should also be proud to have stood with Rep. Eileen Naughton, Dennis Lavallee, and Lisa Scorpio and contributed to their campaigns even though they didn’t win.

There is new energy and organizing for progressive issues and candidates in RI. The organization we are building at WFP this year is the tangible result of that. Our work had big consequences in the victories for candidates last night and will start to have big consequence in the legislature too.