PROVIDENCE — Freshman Democratic Rep. David Cicilline held off first-time Republican candidate Brendan Doherty in Tuesday's election, notching an easier-than-expected victory against the former head of the state police.
Republicans believed they had their best shot in two decades at winning a U.S. House seat from the heavily Democratic state, and both national parties poured money into TV attack ads, making for one of the ugliest races in Rhode Island in years. The last time a Republican was elected to the House from Rhode Island was in 1992.
But with 91 percent of precincts reporting, Cicilline had 52 percent to Doherty's 42 percent in preliminary returns late Tuesday. Cicilline, 51, thanked voters and volunteers in a victory speech before a jubilant crowd in Providence.
“Thank you for the honor you have given to me,” he said. “I promise all Rhode Islanders that the fight that you saw in this campaign is the same fight that I will bring to Washington.”
In a brief concession speech at the state Republican Party's post-election gathering, Doherty, 53, of Cumberland, thanked supporters for their work.
“I have no regrets,” he said, before quickly leaving the stage.
In the 2nd Congressional District, Democratic Rep. Jim Langevin handily won a seventh term in office, holding off a challenge from deep-pocketed Republican investment adviser Michael Riley. Riley lent his campaign more than $600,000. Langevin is the only quadriplegic in Congress.
Read more in our print ediiton.