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Press Release

RI Working Families Party wins 90% of primary elections

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From criminal justice reform to a $15 minimum wage to housing, healthcare and education as a human right, the values of Pawtucket voters match the values of the Working Families Party. Together, RI WFP candidates are proving that you don’t need corporate donors or establishment lobbyists to win elections — you need heart, courage, and a bold vision for racial, social and economic justice for all.


The Working Families Party is proud to congratulate our endorsed candidates Sam Bell (SD 5), Meghan Kallman (SD 15), Jeanine Calkin (SD 30), Kendra Anderson (SD 31), Alana DiMario (SD 36), Brandon Potter (HD 16) Teresa Tanzi (HD 34), Kathy Fogarty (SD 35), Leonela Felix (HD 61) and Michelle McGaw (HD 71) on their victories in yesterday’s Democratic primary election.

“Yesterday’s results made clear what the Working Families Party has known for years: voters are ready for progressive leaders who will use their personal experience to fight for working families. Medicare for All, the Green New Deal, $15 minimum wage and more aren’t just good policy, they’re now, without a doubt, the common-sense path to winning office in Rhode Island,” said RI WFP State Director Georgia Hollister Isman.

“It’s also clear that voters’ desire for progressive policy expands beyond the urban core and into every corner of Rhode Island,” said Hollister Isman. “Current conservative leaders from every corner of our state should consider making bold moves in the coming weeks to protect school funding, expand affordable housing, and prevent Medicaid cuts. If not, they may come face to face with the WFP wave in their own districts sooner than they may expect.”

RI WFP-backed progressives made gains in unconventional districts this primary. Leonela Felix is an attorney and progressive policy advocate who beat out 10-year incumbent Raymond Johnston Jr., a retired police officer backed by Right to Life, for the seat. Brandon Potter, whose firsthand experience with Rhode Island’s broken healthcare system inspired him to run for office, ousted incumbent Representative Chris Millea, an NRA-backed establishment Democrat and close ally of the scandal-embroiled House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello. 

WFP staff, volunteers, and activists played a critical role in the string of progressive primary victories, making over 14,000 calls and sending over 25,000 texts to voters across the state, training candidates and their teams on the ins and outs of running a successful campaign, and advising on mail and messaging strategies. The work done by organizations that sit at WFP’s table, including SEIU and Planned Parenthood, also played a key role in WFP candidates’ pathway to victory this cycle.


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“The WFP is a leading voice for working families in Pawtucket and across Rhode Island, and RI WFP activists showed up in force to help power our victory,” said Leonela Felix. “From criminal justice reform to a $15 minimum wage to housing, healthcare and education as a human right, the values of Pawtucket voters match the values of the Working Families Party. Together, RI WFP candidates are proving that you don’t need corporate donors or establishment lobbyists to win elections — you need heart, courage, and a bold vision for racial, social and economic justice for all.”

“The voters of District 16 have made clear they want change,” said Brandon Potter. “They want leaders who will stand up for regular people and fight hard for healthcare reform, education, equal rights, and an economy that lets working families thrive, not just survive. These are the issues I’m fighting for, and we have a lot of work to do. I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and go to work for regular people, and I’m fired up to continue my work with the WFP as we take this fight to the State House.”

In the coming months, the RI WFP will work to win more legislative seats for progressives in Rhode Island in the November election, fight for a just, anti-austerity budget that invests in recovery for all Rhode Islanders, and connect Rhode island activists to WFP’s powerful progressive turnout operations in swing states like Pennsylvania and Wisconsin for November’s presidential election.