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In Rhode Island, Two Latinos Face Tight Primary Races

Two Latinos - one vying for the governor's seat and one for secretary of state - both face challenging primary nominations.
Image: Marion Orr, Allan Fung, Angel Taveras, Todd Giroux
Providence, Rhode Island Mayor Angel Taveras, a Dominican American, is one of one several candidates vying for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in primaries held Tuesday, September 9th in Rhode Island. Steven Senne / AP

Update: Angel Taveras lost the Democratic gubernatorial primary to Gina Raimundo, and Nellie Gorbea won the primary for Secretary of State.

In Rhode Island two Latinos are vying for statewide offices in very tight races as voters head to the polls on Tuesday.

Providence, Rhode Island Mayor Angel Taveras is one of three candidates locked in a tight race for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination. Taveras, who is Dominican American, would be the first Latino elected to be governor of the state. The son of a factory worker, he has said he is an example of how education is the path of out poverty - he said he has gone "from Head Start to Harvard" - and has received national recognition for a pilot program to boost early reading.

Taveras has the support of some of the state's unions and is trying to appeal to a broad demographic coalition. In the last poll he was trailing a few points behind state treasurer Gina Raimundo, who would be the state's first female governor and has touted her actions tackling the state's pension system. A third candidate, Clay Pell, grandson of the late well-known Senator Claiborne Pell, has the support of the teacher's unions. Analysts say the race is too close to call.

Nellie Gorbea, who is Puerto Rican, is one of two Democratic candidates running for Secretary of State. Gorbea served as Deputy Secretary of State and headed Housing Works RI. The Princeton and Columbia graduate was endorsed by the influential Emily's List and vows she will make government and elections more transparent. She is running against Newport, Rhode Island businessman Guillaume de Ramel who says he will focus on making the state less onerous for businesses.