Rhode Island gubernatorial election, 2010

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The Rhode Island gubernatorial election of 2010 will be held on November 2, 2010. The primary election date is September 14, 2010. The deadline for filing primary nomination papers was in June.[1] Voter registration deadlines pass on August 14, 2010 for the primary and October 2, 2010 for the general election.[2] On all election days, polls are open from 7:00o am until 9:00 pm. local time.

The Congressional Quarterly Gubernatorial Race Tracker for 2010 ranks the race as "Toss up" as of June 2010.[3]

The Cook Political Report ranks the race as "Toss up" as of June 17.[4]

Interestingly, the Rothenberg Political Report, prior to news of Lynch's possible exit from the field ranked the race as leaning Independent, a nod to the strength of Lincoln Chafee's name and campaign strategy.

Race background

48 hours before the one state where serious race trackers gave a third party a strong chance at moving into the governor's mansion, the race potentially got a lot harder for the outsider. In this case, the 'outsider' is former Senator - and former Republican - Lincoln Chafee, whose Independent effort at winning the state's highest office was causing a fair amount of trouble for the state's Democratic party.

Rhode Island's governorship has been in GOP hands for seven of the past nine cycles, and consistently since 1994. Term-limited incumbent, Donald L. Carcieri, gave Democrats some hope when he eked out re-election by a mere two points in 2006. Then, what had been projected to be a crowded primary field got a lot easier to navigate when several Democrats took themselves out of contention before the campaign season truly got going. Democrats eventually put up two candidates, Attorney General Patrick Lynch and General Treasurer Frank Caprio against Republican John Robitaille, himself a senior staffer to Gov. Carcieri. Robitaille has nominal primary opposition in former State Representative Victor Moffit, but polling numbers this year are not favoring any Republican in Rhode Island.

Chafee certainly looked as if he might pull off a coup and join a small club of successful third party candidates for high office. But, on Wednesday, June 14, 2010, the Providence Journal reported that Patrick Lynch would be exiting the race.[5] The story ran just before the end of the business day and suggested Lynch would formally announce the cessation of his candidacy the following day[6], a prediction the flashed across the morning news blasts out of Washington.[7].

Lynch leaves the race

Indeed, on the afternoon of the 15th, Lynch addressed his supporters in a speech entitled, 'The Push for Unity Begins Today”, in which he formally ended his campaign and called for a show of Democratic party unity. In making an endorsement of his former rival for the Democratic nomination, he remarked: “Therefore, today I am announcing that I am withdrawing my name from consideration to become the next Governor of Rhode Island. do so without hesitation. And as I do so, I wholeheartedly offer my enthusiastic endorsement of my friend and fellow General Officer, Frank Caprio."[8]

With the campaign's formal announcement, Lynch's exodus has boosted Democratic hopes in Rhode Island's fierce race to succeed term-limited Donald L. Carcieri. Lincoln Chafee, running as an Independent, is polling strongly and third party candidate Ken Block, on the Moderate Party ticket, is still in the race. The GOP nomination is not yet sewn up, as John Robitaille and Victor Moffitt are sparing ahead of the primary.

Lynch trailed, in fundraising and in polling, behind his former primary opposition, General Treasurer Frank Caprio. Lynch was also passed over by the Democrats when they endorsed Caprio in June, saying in a statement that they perceived him to be the stronger candidate. Shortly after leaving the race, Mr. Lynch endorsed Frank Caprio, the state's General Treasurer.[9]

Remaining primary candidates face altered field

Without the hope that drawn-out primary would deplete Democratic resources and exhaust the eventual victor, Chafee's bid may have hit a stumbling block. Democrats are intent on re-taking the governorship this fall and have an intimidating operation on the ground to back their sole remaining candidate. Caprio beats Chafee 4-to-1 in cash on hand. Republican candidates are also trailing in fundraising, as is Moderate Ken Block.[10]

Just after Lynch left the campaign trail for good, Chafee was leading Caprio by a slight margin – 37% to 30%.[11] Chafee also hopes to turn Rhode Island's large population of unaffiliated voters to his advantage. However, his major opponent's race has just gotten a lot easier.

The absolute deadline to file nominating papers passed for all candidates on Friday, July 16, 2010 at 4:00 pm, EST.



  • Frank Caprio, currently serving as the General Treasurer for the state
  • Patrick C. Lynch, the term-limited Attorney General, has recently left the race, endorsing Mr. Caprio


Moderate Party


  • Victor G. Moffitt, a businessman and former State Representative
  • John F. Robitaille, is a former US Army paratrooper and currently owns his own business, building off of experiences wprking as a labor negotiator.

Presidential electoral history[15]

2000 Presidential Results
Candidates Percentage
George W. Bush (R) 31.91%
Al Gore (D) 60.99%
2004 Presidential Results
Candidates Percentage
George W. Bush (R) 38.67%
John Kerry (D) 59.42%
2008 Presidential Results
Candidates Percentage
John McCain (R) 35.06%
Barack Obama (D) 62.86%

1992 Presidential Results
Candidates Percentage
George H.W. Bush (R) 29.02%
Bill Clinton (D) 47.04%
1996 Presidential Results
Candidates Percentage
Bob Dole (R) 26.82%
Bill Clinton (D) 59.71%

See also

External links

Candidate pages


  1. The Green Papers, "2010 Gubernatorial Primaries at a Glance"
  2. Office of the Secretary of State, "Election calendar 2010", accessed July 16, 2010
  3. CQ Politics, "Race Ratings Chart 2010: Governor"
  4. Cook Political Report, "Gubernatorial races 2010
  5. Providence Journal, "", July 14, 2010
  6. FoxProvidence,com, "Report: Lynch to exit governor's race", July 15, 2010
  7. Taegan Goddard's Political Wire, "Lynch Expected to Drop Race for Rhode Island Governor", July 14, 2010
  8. Patrick Lynch for Governor, "The push for unity begins today", July 15, 2010
  9. Caprio for Governor, "Statement from Frank on Patrick Lynch's endorsement", July 15, 2010
  10. Real Clear Politics, “Chafee's independent RI governor bid no easy road”, July 22, 2010
  11. Rasmussen Reports, “Election 2010: Rhode Island Governor: Rhode Island Governor: Chafee (I) Holds Slight Lead”, July 23, 2010
  12. Office of the Secretary of State, "Candidates for Governor", accessed July 16, 2010
  13. Giroux for Governor, "The Rhode Island Governor is the only public office from which policy change can help the people of Rhode Island", June 1, 2010
  14. Craigslist, "Joe Lusi for RI governor (RI)", July 8, 2010
  15. Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections', accessed July 28, 2010