Liberal Rhode Island could send Republican to US House if he wins
Democratic incumbent Jim Langevin has made his first political visit to Rhode Island after winning a special election.
“This has been a great opportunity for me personally, as a candidate, as to understand the dynamics of campaigning in the state of Rhode Island,” Langevin told a group of supporters Saturday night.
The Democrat’s visit came one week after he won election to a seat his party, the Green Party, lost to Democrat Stephen M. Sweeney in the August primary.
He was hoping to capitalize on the Democratic enthusiasm base voters saw in that race.
“Rhode Islandans don’t want to just take, I think you can say, a seat away from Democrats, but they also want Republicans in the House here. So this is a big opportunity,” he said.
“This is an opportunity for us to kind of educate the Republican base on the issues that Democrats care about.”
He said a major difference between the two parties was “how they fight” and he pointed to the Democratic primary where he said the Republican candidate was able to “push the Republicans to the left.”
“My message today is one that is conservative and one that is moderate,” Langevin said. “The only thing that separates the two parties is the amount of money and the amount of organization between the two parties.”
Langevin said that he’s learned that working with the Democratic Party is a “different process” than working with other parties. He said the Democratic Party was very open to the possibility of working with him and he also learned that the Green Party was “quite conservative.”
“I think we have found common ground on both sides, because both parties want to be good for Rhode Island and for America,” Langevin said.
The former governor is the first Democrat to win a seat in the state’s 50-year history since Democrat Robert A. Brown died in office in 1988.
The only other state in the Northeast that has sent a Democrat to the House is New York, which has sent three Democrats to the House in the last two decades.
Langevin won the seat from Democratic Rep. Stephen M. Sweeney in the August 2016 general election race. Sweeney went on to win the seat back in the 2010 general