Rhode Island Democratic Party Women’s Caucus and LGBTQ Caucus address endorsement isssue

RI Democratic Party Chair Joe McNamara

Letters were sent out from the Chair and Executive Committee of the Rhode Island Democratic Party Women’s Caucus and from the Rhode Island Democratic LGBTQ Caucus decrying the endorsements of Michael Earnheart over incumbent Representative Moira Walsh (Democrat, District 3, Providence) and the endorsement of Gregory Acciardo for Senate District 35 over candidate Bridget Valverde, who serves as the Vice-Chair of the Women’s Caucus.

Sulina Mohanty, chair of the Women’s Caucus, said she was “deeply concerned about the lack of transparency, integrity, and commitment to the Democratic Party platform shown by the recent endorsements.” She went on to “request a public retraction of the endorsement of Michael Earnhardt, who has made extensive public comments that go against the values of the Democratic Party.”

The executive committee of the Women’s Caucus also expressed concerns and in their letter they sought explanations for “the State Committee’s endorsement of Michael Earnheart for House District 3” and “an explanation for the State Committee’s endorsement of Gregory Acciardo for Senate District 35.” The executive committee also touched on the endorsements of the Democratic challengers to Marcia Ranglin-Vassell and Senator Jeanine Calkin, noting that the explanation for “these choices lies in the arcane district committee system, which is something that should also be addressed at another time.”

Anthony DeRose and Kate Monteiro, chair and vice chair respectfully of the LGBTQ Caucus also expressed concerns “about the lack of transparency, integrity, and commitment to the Democratic Party platform shown by the recent endorsements of certain General Assembly candidates.”  DeRose and Monteiro are seeking explanations for the endorsements and “a public retraction of the endorsement of Michael Earnhardt.”

You can read the full text of their letters below:


July 3, 2018

Dear Senator Whitehouse, Congressman Cicilline, Congressman Langevin, Governor Raimondo, Lieutenant Governor McKee, Secretary of State Gorbea, Attorney General Candidate Neronha and Treasurer Magaziner:

As the leaders of the RIDP Women’s Caucus, we are proud to see your names at the top of the Democratic ticket in 2018, and we stand with you in service of our shared Democratic values.

As members of the Women’s Caucus and committed Democrats, we ask you to join us in seeking an explanation for the State Committee’s endorsement of Michael Earnheart for House District 3. This district is represented by a Democratic incumbent, Representative Moira Walsh. Mr Earnheart was a registered Republican until recently, and has been a very public Trump supporter. He has been vocal about many things that clearly go against our Democratic values.

Please join us as well in seeking an explanation for the State Committee’s endorsement of Gregory Acciardo for Senate District 35. This seat is currently held by a Republican. Democrat Bridget Valverde, Vice-Chair of the Women’s Caucus, has been campaigning for the Democratic nomination for months. Additionally, she has been active in building the party and was unanimously endorsed by the East Greenwich and North Kingstown Town Committees. Mr Acciardo got into the race just before the deadline.

Representative Marcia Ranglin-Vassell and Senator Jeanine Calkin—Democrats, incumbents, women– also did not receive the endorsement of the Democratic Party. The explanation for these choices lies in the arcane district committee system, which is something that should also be addressed at another time.

The members of the Women’s Caucus see a pattern here–a pattern of the party establishment withholding endorsements from progressive women, even if they are incumbents. Again, we ask you to join us in moving our party in a more inclusive, democratic direction. Please let the Chairman, the Speaker and the Senate President know that you object to business as usual.

Thank you,

The Executive Committee of the Rhode Island Democratic Party Women’s Caucus


July 3, 2018

Dear Chairman,

The Rhode Island Democratic Party Women’s Caucus is deeply concerned about the lack of transparency, integrity, and commitment to the Democratic Party platform shown by the recent endorsements of certain General Assembly candidates. The endorsements of candidates with known criminal histories over qualified women is especially concerning.

Specifically, we are troubled by the endorsement of the opponents of Moira Walsh, an incumbent, and Bridget Valverde, Vice-Chair of the Women’s Caucus. We formally request an explanation of the State Committee’s endorsement process of General Assembly candidates. Additionally, we request a public retraction of the endorsement of Michael Earnhardt, who has made extensive public comments that go against the values of the Democratic Party.

The Women’s Caucus has been a key aspect of building the state party since its reorganization in 2017 and these endorsements have left many members disappointed and questioning the commitment of leadership to our shared Democratic values.

Sulina Mohanty

Chair, Rhode Island Democratic Party Women’s Caucus


Dear Chairman McNamara –

The Rhode Island Democratic Party LGBTQ Caucus stands with our fellow Democrats of the Rhode Island Democratic Party Women’s Caucus in the concerns about the lack of transparency, integrity, and commitment to the Democratic Party platform shown by the recent endorsements of certain General Assembly candidates. The endorsements of candidates with known criminal histories over qualified women is especially concerning.

Specifically, we are troubled by the endorsement of the opponents of Moira Walsh, an incumbent, and Bridget Valverde, Vice-Chair of the Women’s Caucus. We formally request an explanation of the State Committee’s endorsement process of General Assembly candidates. Additionally, we request a public retraction of the endorsement of Michael Earnhardt, who has made extensive public comments that go against the values of the Democratic Party.

The creation of caucuses, such as the LGBTQ and the Women’s Caucus, has been a key aspect of building the state party since its reorganization in 2017 and these endorsements have left many members disappointed and questioning the commitment of leadership to our shared Democratic values.

Anthony F. DeRose
Chair, Rhode Island Democratic Party LGBTQ Caucus

Kate Monteiro
Vice Chair, Rhode Island Democratic Party LGBTQ Caucus


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About Steve Ahlquist 629 Articles
Steve Ahlquist is a frontline reporter in Rhode Island. He has covered human rights, social justice, progressive politics and environmental news for half a decade. Uprise RI is his new project, and he's doing all he can to make it essential reading. atomicsteve@gmail.com

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