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Winning the Messaging Battle, Part I
Tipsheet

A Republican Representing Rhode Island? A Red Wave Could Make It Happen

AP Photo/Steven Senne

Rhode Island is currently represented by two Democrats, but with this upcoming November midterms dominated by a record amount of retirements, it's possible that a likely red wave could change that. Among those dozens of Democrats heading for the exits is Rep. James Langevin, who has represented Rhode Island's 2nd district since 2001. On Friday, former Mayor Allan Fung, who has also run for governor, entered the race, as reported by WRPI. 

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"We need a different type of leader in D.C.," An email from Fung with the subject headline "I'M BACK" read. "We need a problem solver. We need leaders who are willing to work with people on both sides of the aisle to bring common sense solutions to our everyday problems. I did just that in Cranston, and I can’t wait to do that for you as your next congressman."

Cranston is the town where Fung was mayor from 2009 until 2021. As the WRPI report noted, it represents 15 percent of the district. 

The email also dismissed "hyperpartisan politicians," as Fung terms it. "Instead of focusing on the problems weighing on people each night at the dinner table, D.C. politicians spend their time attacking one another with the same old talking points," he wrote. "We do not need more hyperpartisan politicians."

This race is considered competitive. Further, while Fung lost in both 2014 and 2018 to Gov. Gina Raimondo, who served until she became the United States Secretary of Commerce, he did gain name recognition and funding as a result.

Included in WRPI's report:

12 News political analyst Joe Fleming said Fung’s decision to mount a campaign shows why Republicans see an opportunity and Democrats see a risk in the 2nd District contest. “It’s going to be a competitive race — there’s no question about that,” he said, suggesting both parties’ national campaign arms could wind up spending money on the race.

While Fung currently has two Republican primary rivals, “he’s by far the best-known of the three,” Fleming said. “I think he needs to stay more toward the middle to try to grab some of the independents and Democrats in the general election. … He saw that when he ran for governor, when he got pushed to the right and it was tough to move back toward the middle.”

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The other Republicans in the race include former State Rep. Bob Lancia, who had also run against Langevin in 2020 and State Sen. Jessica de la Cruz.  

It's worth noting that, as Ryan King mentioned in his coverage for The Washington Examiner, the maps for Rhode Island have not been implemented. 

Under its current map, the district is considered D+4 by the Cook Partisan Voting Index. It's much more competitive than the 1st district, currently represented by Democratic Rep. David Cicilline.

When it comes to redistricting, the Cook Political Report recently noted that Democrats appear to have an edge, though Republicans are still predicted to gain control of the U.S. House of Representatives. There's just too many problems plaguing President Joe Biden and the Democratic Party to escape historical trends that indicate the president's party almost always loses seats in his first midterm election. In fact, the upcoming midterm elections may be historic for another reason, in how bad it is for the Democrats. 

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