Rhode Island Bottleneck Could Tighten by 2022

by Abby Livingston, Roll Call
February 6, 2014

It says everything about the state of the GOP in Rhode Island that the last Republican to hold federal office there, Gov. Lincoln Chafee, became a Democrat in 2013.

But there are few states that present as little opportunity for the politically ambitious of either party as Rhode Island, and the avenues could shrink soon. Republicans see a difficult path to win any federal office, and Democrats are bracing for a bottleneck within their own delegation, thanks to the potential loss of a House seat through reapportionment after the 2020 census.

For now, and likely for the next eight years, the state’s delegation is composed of four Democrats.

“The Republican establishment has not been effective at organizing, fundraising or presenting a credible challenge to the incumbents at the congressional level,” Democratic consultant Ray Sullivan said of his party’s domination.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, 58, coasted to a second term in 2012. Sen. Jack Reed, 64, is seeking a fourth term this year and facing marginal competition.

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