Midterm results: Seth Magaziner staves off stiff challenge from RI GOP hopeful Allan Fung

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FILE – Rhode Island General Treasurer Seth Magaziner is photographed in his office in Providence, R.I., Feb. 7, 2022. Magaziner had been running for Rhode Island governor but switched races after Rep. Jim Langevin’s retirement announcement to try to keep the seat in Democratic control. New Hampshire, Delaware and Rhode Island will hold their primaries on Tuesday, Sept. 13. (AP Photo/David Goldman, File) David Goldman/AP

Midterm results: Seth Magaziner staves off stiff challenge from RI GOP hopeful Allan Fung

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Republican hopes of an upset victory in the deep-blue Ocean State were dashed after state Treasurer Seth Magaziner fended off a spirited challenge from Republican hopeful Allan Fung, who conceded the race.

“I want to take a moment to congratulate my opponent, Seth Magaziner, on his victory tonight,” Fung said, according to Fox News.

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Although historically a sleepy race in a Democratic stronghold district that President Joe Biden won by roughly 14 points, Rhode Island’s 2nd Congressional District turned out to be one of the most competitive House contests this cycle, buoying Republican hopes of clinching an upset victory in blue territory to give them a congressional mandate in 2023.

The seat had been vacated by outgoing Rep. Jim Langevin (D), who held the post for about 22 years. The last Republican to hold the seat was former Rep. Claudine Schneider (R-RI), who departed Congress in 1991 and endorsed Magaziner in the competition.

Throughout the campaign, Magaziner sought to paint himself as a champion of the working class, but his campaign also leaned heavily on attacks that Fung would be a puppet for an “extreme” Republican agenda. He was first elected to the Rhode Island general treasurer post in 2014, succeeding former Gov. Gina Raimondo (D), and was reelected in 2018.

He and his allies blanketed the airwaves with scathing ads tying Fung to former President Donald Trump and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), figures who are deeply unpopular in Rhode Island.

Polling, with small sample sizes and large margins of error, showed Fung edging out Magaziner in a hypothetical matchup, drawing national attention from top brass in both parties. The Cook Political Report deemed the race a toss-up.

Fung brought ample name recognition and a strong political brand into the fray, which set the stage for a fiercely competitive showdown. He served as mayor of Cranston, the second-largest city in the Ocean State, from 2009-2021 and also vied unsuccessfully for Rhode Island governor in 2014 and 2018.

Fung brandished a centrist appeal, casting himself as a bipartisan deal-maker. He voiced opposition to a national ban on abortion and focused sharply on economic issues such as soaring inflation and energy prices pinching the pocketbooks of everyday Rhode Islanders.

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National Republicans dumped millions of dollars into the race, and several GOP heavyweights fundraised or stumped for Fung on the campaign trail. Democrats returned fire, pouring money into the race and dispatching high-profile Democrats such as first lady Jill Biden to support Magaziner in hopes of averting a GOP revolt and political embarrassment.

With Magaziner’s victory, Democrats managed to hang on to their three-decade-plus grip on the Rhode Island district.

© 2022 Washington Examiner

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