- Associated Press - Thursday, October 30, 2014

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - First lady Michelle Obama urged voters to “get it done” for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gina Raimondo, saying Thursday that the race is close and she needs every last vote.

Mrs. Obama headlined a get-out-the-vote rally for Raimondo at a school in Providence as part of Raimondo’s efforts to boost turnout Tuesday.

“You got to get it done, Rhode Island,” Mrs. Obama told a crowd of about 1,000. “You can do this. We can do this. … Every single one of those votes matters. This election is going to be incredibly close. You hear me? Incredibly close.”

The first lady is the second major Democrat to visit Rhode Island to stump for Raimondo, the current general treasurer, in the final days of her campaign against Republican Allan Fung. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton campaigned with Raimondo last week at Rhode Island College.

Both events centered on the theme of “rebuilding the middle class,” which has dominated Raimondo’s rhetoric in recent weeks. She has struggled to win the support of some union members and retirees who opposed her 2011 overhaul of the state’s public pension system. The pension law is being challenged in court.

A Brown University poll out this week shows Raimondo in a statistical tie with Fung, the mayor of Cranston, and Republicans believe they have a chance to pull off what would be considered an upset. The chairman of the Republican Governors Association, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, plans to make a third visit to Rhode Island for Fung on Monday.

Fung has criticized Raimondo’s judgment and leadership, including on pensions and the rehiring of a financial advisory firm being sued over the failed 38 Studios deal. On Thursday, he called her unfit to govern.

At Thursday’s event, Mrs. Obama called Raimondo “someone you can count on” to push to raise the minimum wage, create jobs and improve schools.

“Gina has had just one mission: to make life better for middle-class families here in this state,” she said. “That is what has driven her every single day and that will be her mission as governor.”

Raimondo called the election the most important one Rhode Island has had in decades and urged voters to “drag this over the finish line.”

President Barack Obama is scheduled to arrive in Rhode Island later Thursday for an official visit. He’ll discuss the economy at Rhode Island College on Friday. Raimondo will attend in her capacity as treasurer.

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