Dem 51
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GOP 49
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The Democratic Party Is at War with ... the Democratic Party

The Republicans aren't the only party that is badly split (see above). So are the Democrats. At least in Rhode Island. David Cicilline resigned from the House on June 1 to lead the Rhode Island Foundation. The special election to fill his seat has gotten very messy, full of identity politics at its worst. Executive summary: The Congressional Hispanic Caucus, the Congressional Black Caucus, and the Congressional Progressive Caucus are at each other's throats.

The primary is on Sept. 5 and the district, RI-01, is D+12, so some Democrat will win, but which one? One of Cicilline's political strategists said: "Rhode Island politics is a lot like a crowded mall parking lot where a space just opened up and there's a dozen cars circling for it." The big crowd is there because you need only 500 signatures to make the primary ballot. The leading candidates are Lt. Gov. Sabina Matos (Latina), Gabe Amo (Black), and former state Rep. Aaron Regunberg (progressive).

The Hispanic Caucus has already spent $400,000 to support Matos, the only statewide official who filed. She has been dogged by a scandal about how she got on the ballot. She turned in 1,285 signatures, but half were deemed invalid. Some of the signatories were dead and others appeared to be forged. An investigation is ongoing. Not a great look for a statewide official to be barely able to get 500 legitimate signatures.

Polling puts Regunberg, who has the backing of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), in the lead. He ran for lieutenant governor in 2018 and barely lost the primary. But his campaign has also faced controversy. He has complained loudly about the role of money in politics and the rich donors who supply it. However, his father-in-law, a wealthy executive at an investment firm, started a super PAC for him and dropped $125,000 into it. That makes him look a tad hypocritical. Matos filed a complaint alleging illegal coordination between Regunberg and the super PAC. If he discussed his campaign with his wife, it is just possible that she mentioned it to her rich father.

Amo has raised $463,000 and has former White House chief of Staff Ron Klain on his side. But Klain is not nearly as well known as Sanders. On the other hand, there are no scandals associated with Amo. In the end, it will come down to the ground war—getting your supporters to the polls. (V)

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