- Associated Press - Sunday, September 7, 2014

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - Voters head to the polls Tuesday to choose the Democratic and Republican gubernatorial nominees along with other candidates who will compete in the November general election. Most polls open at 7 a.m., though not until 8 a.m. or 9 a.m. in some communities. Polls close everywhere at 8 p.m.

Here are some of the hottest races:



The Democratic gubernatorial contest is a close race. General Treasurer Gina Raimondo touts her experience overhauling the state pension system as proof she’s a leader who can invigorate the state’s lagging economy. Providence Mayor Angel Taveras highlights how he saved the capital city from fiscal collapse and says he’ll push for policies to help the middle class. Political newcomer Clay Pell says the state needs a different type of leader. He says he brings a fresh perspective and the strategic vision to rebuild the state’s economy. The winner faces one of two Republicans: Cranston Mayor Allan Fung or businessman Ken Block. Fung, who has tried to portray himself as the real Republican in the race, says he’ll use his experience leading the state’s third-largest city to create jobs and foster a business friendly environment. Block, who founded the Moderate Party, says he has the business acumen necessary to fix the economic climate and eliminate wasteful government spending. Democratic Gov. Lincoln Chafee isn’t seeking re-election.



Three Democrats are looking to succeed the term-limited incumbent Lt. Gov. Elizabeth Roberts. Secretary of State Ralph Mollis says he has made Rhode Island more business friendly during his tenure and would build on that. Cumberland Mayor Dan McKee highlights his experience during six terms as mayor, including how he stabilized town finances, and says he’ll challenge the old way of doing business. Departing state Rep. Frank Ferri says his time at the Statehouse will help him serve as a bridge between the General Assembly and governor. The Democratic winner is expected to face Republican Catherine Taylor, who lost to Mollis in the 2010 secretary of state’s race.



The Democratic race features Nellie Gorbea, a former deputy secretary of state, against Newport businessman Guillaume De Ramel, who narrowly lost the 2006 Democratic primary to current Secretary of State Ralph Mollis. Gorbea says she will ensure that elections are fair, fast and accurate, make state government more transparent and help small businesses thrive. De Ramel says he has the experience starting and growing businesses to improve the state’s business climate, which he says suffers from too much red tape and too little action. The winner faces Republican John Carlevale, who has run unsuccessfully several times for political office.



The Democratic race pits a political veteran, former Treasurer Frank Caprio, against a political newcomer, Seth Magaziner. Magaziner, an investment professional, says he jumped into the race because he’s frustrated with Rhode Island’s failure to rebound from the recession. He wants to use the treasurer’s office to promote economic growth. Caprio, an attorney and investor, says he wants to use what he learned in his first term to improve the office. Caprio has promised to be an advocate for small businesses. The winner faces former state Auditor General Ernie Almonte, an independent.



Two Democrats are competing for the chance to take on former Mayor Buddy Cianci in November. City Council President Michael Solomon is a restaurant owner and says his nearly eight years on the council give him the experience needed to run the city. He says he “cleaned up the mess” that Cianci made during 21 years at City Hall. Law professor and former housing court judge Jorge Elorza says he has built a citywide coalition that will carry him to victory over Cianci. Cianci, a two-time convicted felon, is running as an independent.



On the Republican side in the 1st Congressional District, two political newcomers are vying to go up against incumbent U.S. Rep. David Cicilline: former Marine Cormick Lynch and Brown University medical student Stan Tran. Among the interesting General Assembly races: Democratic Rep. Maria Cimini in Providence is trying to fend off a challenge from lawyer Dan McKiernan, who is backed by House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello. Democratic Sen. Gayle Goldin drew opposition from real estate agent Chris Wall, whose campaign is being aided by $75,000 in independent expenditures by a national real estate group. Meanwhile, three Democrats are seeking the nomination for the seat being vacated by ex-House Speaker Gordon Fox. They are activist Aaron Regunberg, Teach For America-Rhode Island executive director Heather Tow-Yick and lawyer Miriam Ross. Most state legislators have no primary challenges.

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