- Associated Press - Wednesday, November 5, 2014

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - Rhode Island voters chose a Democratic governor for the first time in more than 20 years in a Democratic sweep of statewide offices, while voters in Providence decided not to give former mayor and two-time felon Buddy Cianci another chance to run the city.



Democrat Gina Raimondo defeated Republican Allan Fung to become the first woman elected Rhode Island governor. Raimondo, the current treasurer, focused her campaign on plans to improve the state’s chronically struggling economy and told voters she can help the state become a powerhouse of advanced manufacturing. Her victory over the Cranston mayor also makes her the first Democrat elected to the job since 1992. Gov. Lincoln Chafee, who did not seek re-election, came into office as an independent but switched to the Democratic Party last year. Moderate Party candidate Robert Healey also ran.



Cianci, an independent, lost his comeback bid for mayor of Providence to Democrat Jorge Elorza. Elorza defeated Cianci and Republican Dan Harrop. Top Democrats, including President Barack Obama, rallied around Elorza, a law professor and former housing court judge. Cianci was forced from office twice because of felonies.



Democrat Dan McKee, a six-term mayor of Cumberland, beat Republican Catherine Taylor, former state director of elderly affairs. McKee, an advocate for charter schools, won despite the opposition of some unions. He touted his experience stabilizing town finances and said he would use the office to boost the economy and improve the business climate.



Democrat Nellie Gorbea defeated Republican John Carlevale. Gorbea, a former deputy secretary of state, campaigned on a promise to ensure that elections are fair, fast and accurate, to make state government more transparent and to help small businesses thrive. Carlevale has run unsuccessfully several times for political office.



Democrat Seth Magaziner defeated Ernie Almonte, who ran as an independent. Magaziner, an investment professional, has said he will use the treasurer’s office to revive the state’s economy and create jobs. He also told voters he would bring a fresh perspective to state government. Almonte is a certified public accountant and former state auditor general.



Incumbent Democrat Peter Kilmartin fended off a challenge from Republican Dawson Hodgson to win a second term. Hodgson, a state senator, criticized Kilmartin’s handling of the criminal investigation into the $75 million loan guarantee for 38 Studios. Kilmartin defended his record during the campaign, saying he has worked to root out corruption and other illegal behavior by public officials and made government more transparent.



Democrats Jack Reed, Jim Langevin and David Cicilline are going back to Congress. Reed won a fourth term in the Senate over Republican Mark Zaccaria. Langevin beat Republican Rhue Reis and will return for an eighth term representing the 2nd Congressional District. Cicilline won over Republican Cormick Lynch and will return for a third term representing the state’s 1st Congressional District.



Table games won’t be allowed in Newport. A ballot question on permitting table games such as blackjack and roulette at the Newport Grand slots parlor was approved statewide but rejected in Newport. The ballot question needed majority approval of both statewide voters and local voters to pass. Two years ago, statewide voters approved expanding Newport Grand into a full casino but local voters didn’t. The developer poised to buy Newport Grand pledged to spend $40 million to turn it into an “entertainment center” but only if it could add table games. Opponents in Newport said it would ruin their community.



Voters decided not to hold a convention to consider changes to the Rhode Island Constitution. The measure to hold the state’s first convention since 1986 was proposed as a way to bring government reforms, such as the line-item veto and restored ethics oversight of the General Assembly. But opponents said special interest groups could use it to raise other issues, like changes in state policy on abortion rights.



Voters approved ballot initiatives to issue bonds for several projects: $35 million to support arts groups, $125 million for modern facilities to train engineers at the University of Rhode Island, $35 million to renovate transit infrastructure throughout the state and $53 million for the environment and recreation.

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