With a low approval rating and few accomplishments, Rhode Island Democrat Governor Gina Raimondo is facing a serious primary challenge as her party’s support for her candidacy continues to wane. And as her former union allies continue to openly push for Democrat candidates to oppose Raimondo, her problems appear to be just getting started.
This week, Raimondo’s predecessor, Democrat Lincoln Chafee, further fanned speculation that he may challenge her in the primary after months of publicly feuding with her and criticizing her failed record. More bad news came for Raimondo when Paul Roselli, head of Burrillville Land Trust, announced he would launch a primary challenge against Raimondo on October 3, with his candidacy threatening to “peel off environmental voters” from Raimondo. To make matters worse, Raimondo has also been locked in a heated public fight with the state’s Democrat Attorney General, Peter Kilmartin, over an ongoing dispute over Rhode Island’s relationship with 38 Studios. Kilmartin has openly flirted with the prospect of running against Raimondo in 2018 as their growing feud signals more trouble for her.
While Raimondo continues to lose support from fellow Democrats and big labor groups that backed her in 2014, her chances of avoiding a costly and divisive nomination fight continue to diminish, leaving her party less united behind its incumbent governor.