By DAVID KLEPPER, Associated Press
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — U.S. Rep. Jim Langevin will face former state lawmaker Robert Lancia this November in his bid for an 11th term representing Rhode Island’s heavily Democratic 2nd Congressional district.
Langevin beat back a late challenge from Dylan Conley to win Tuesday’s Democratic primary. On the Republican side, Lancia defeated Donald Robbio for the right to challenge Langevin.
Results from several other races on Tuesday’s ballot aren’t expected until Wednesday at the earliest to give election officials time to collect and tabulate mail ballots from drop boxes stationed around the state.
Langevin’s contest was the night’s highest-profile race. The 56-year-old congressman, who became the first quadriplegic to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives when he was elected in 2000, defeated his fellow Democrat Conley, a 33-year-old lawyer who chairs the Providence Board of Licenses and entered the race in June.
Langevin has focused on national security, health care, cybersecurity and elections security during his congressional tenure. He is a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, where he chairs the Intelligence and Emerging Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee.
Langevin, who served as Rhode Island’s secretary of state before winning election to Congress, stopped short of claiming victory Tuesday night, saying he would wait for a final result.
“Although we are encouraged by the numbers that have been reported, we eagerly await the final vote tally and express our immense gratitude to all who are working to process ballots in an accurate and timely manner,” he said in a statement.
Langevin was 16 when he was injured while working with the Warwick Police Department in the Boy Scout Explorer program, when a gun accidentally discharged and a bullet struck him, leaving him paralyzed.
Lancia, a former elementary school teacher, ran for the U.S. House after losing reelection to the Rhode Island House of Representatives in 2018. The 66-year-old faced Robbio, an Air Force veteran and advocate for the elderly.
A self-described “libertarian Republican,” Lancia pledged to support tax breaks for donations to private and parochial schools catering to students “who can’t get their needs met” in a public school.
Rhode Island Republican Party chair Sue Cienki called Lancia, a former U.S. Navy chaplain, “an Energizer bunny” who worked tirelessly to advance GOP priorities in an overwhelmingly Democratic state.
Voters were also choosing candidates for mayor in Cranston, Warwick, Pawtucket and Central Falls. In Cranston, Kenneth Hopkins beat Michael Farina in the Republican mayoral primary. Other races were too close to call.
In state legislative races, state Rep. Moira Walsh conceded defeat to high school principal Nathan Biah in a Democratic primary in Providence. Known for championing liberal causes, Walsh was a vocal critic of the House’s Democratic leaders. Shortly after she took office in 2017 she rebuked other lawmakers for drinking in the Statehouse.
Democratic U.S. Rep. David Cicilline had no primary opponent Tuesday in his reelection bid in Rhode Island’s 1st Congressional District.
Democratic U.S. Sen. Jack Reed also sailed past the primary unopposed and will face Republican Allen Waters in November.
Rhode Island’s other U.S. senator, Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse, won’t be up for reelection again until 2024.
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