The Circus Continues: Rhode Island Democrats Pick the Least Liberal Candidate, and They’re Still Too Far Left!

In a turn of events that should surprise no one familiar with Democratic politics, a former White House aide to both Joe Biden and Barack Obama has emerged victorious in Rhode Island’s special primary for an open seat in the U.S. Congress. Gabriel Amo, a 36-year-old son of Liberian immigrants, managed to outshine Aaron Regunberg, a Bernie Sanders-backed candidate, by an 8% lead. This is despite Regunberg also enjoying the endorsement of the media darling Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Amo’s platform was heavily focused on gun control legislation, a predictable move for someone who was a liaison between Biden and local officials. He also held the same position under Obama and was an adviser to Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo. Interestingly, Amo was considered the least liberal among the Democratic candidates, which is saying something given that his competition included Regunberg, who was denounced as “not left enough” by the Rhode Island Chapter of the Democrat Socialists of America.

Regunberg’s campaign was a parade of liberal clich├ęs, from “I Stand With Planned Parenthood” signs to calls for increased protection of the LGBT community and Supreme Court reform. Bernie Sanders endorsed him, stating the need for someone in Congress who would fight against corporate greed and climate change. But let’s be honest, what the Democrats don’t need is another rubber stamp in Congress. They need someone who can think critically, not just follow the party line.

Amo replaces David Cicilline, who led a partisan push for a federal Transgender Bill of Rights last year. Cicilline held the seat for eight years before stepping down to become the president of the Rhode Island Foundation. The district he leaves behind includes Newport, known for its opulent mansions and historical ties to the Kennedy family.

In a subplot that could only happen in Democratic politics, Regunberg and another candidate, Rhode Island Lt. Gov. Sabina Matos, accused each other of unethical campaign practices. Regunberg is under investigation for a $119,000 campaign contribution from a super PAC created by his father-in-law. At the same time, Matos is being scrutinized for unauthorized signatures on her nomination papers.

On the Republican side, Gerry Leonard, a retired U.S. Marine Colonel, won the primary with a focus on dismantling “Bidenomics” and reducing the national debt. While Rhode Island is a blue state, there’s a glimmer of hope for Republicans. Allan Fung, a Rhode Island attorney, narrowly missed victory in the 2022 midterm elections, suggesting that the state may be warming up to more moderate politics.

The Rhode Island primary was a spectacle of Democratic infighting, questionable ethics, and the usual platitudes. While the Democrats continue to be a fractured group, Republicans are steadily gaining ground. It’s a sign of the times and perhaps an indication that the American people are growing tired of the same old Democratic playbook.