Rhode Island Democratic Gov.-elect Raimondo pledges fresh faces, 'new day' in administration



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PROVIDENCE, Rhode Island — Democratic Gov.-elect Gina Raimondo on Wednesday pledged an administration with fresh faces but said there is "a lot of work to do" a day after winning office with the support of just two-fifths of Rhode Island voters.

Raimondo took a swing through Venda Ravioli on Federal Hill with her husband, Andrew Moffit, shaking hands, accepting congratulations and even sampling a bit of cheese from the counter.

The 43-year-old state treasurer won a hard-fought and expensive campaign with 40 percent of the vote to Republican Allan Fung's 36 percent. The Moderate Party candidate, Robert Healey, got a surprising 22 percent, despite his late entry and the fact that he raised no money.

The results, Raimondo acknowledged, showed voter dissatisfaction and frustration, and she said she shares it, citing the state's long-standing economic problems. Asked how she would reach out to Rhode Islanders who didn't back her, she said the best way to win their support is to deliver results.

"Everything you're going to see out of me is jobs, jobs, jobs," she told reporters before heading to Warwick to greet voters at a supermarket. "It's my job now to lead, and to give them a reason to believe we can be great. The best way to get people to believe is to get things done."

Raimondo said she would reach out to public-sector unions, some of which did not support her because of anger over her 2011 pension overhaul.

"I'm going to have to work with everybody, and that's what I know how to do," she said.

She also said she plans to appoint a transition team soon and make other hiring decisions.

"We want competent people. We want new faces," she said. "It's a new day, and we have a lot of work to do."

Meanwhile, Fung planned to turn his attention back to running the state's third-largest city, where he has two years left on his mayoral term. He said it was too soon to say whether he would run for governor again.

"I poured my heart and soul into this campaign," he told The Providence Journal. "It took not one but two presidents, two first ladies and a moose that was running loose to take me down."

Raimondo was backed by President Barack Obama and former President Bill Clinton, and first lady Michelle Obama and former first lady and U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton both campaigned for her in Rhode Island. Healey previously ran for office for the Cool Moose party.

Democrats made a clean sweep of statewide offices on Tuesday. Cumberland Mayor Dan McKee was elected lieutenant governor over Republican Catherine Taylor; Seth Magaziner defeated independent Ernie Almonte in the treasurer's race; Nellie Gorbea beat Republican John Carlevale for secretary of state; and incumbent Attorney General Peter Kilmartin beat GOP state Sen. Dawson Hodgson.

Democrat Jorge Elorza also defeated ex-Mayor and two-time felon Buddy Cianci in the Providence mayor's race.

The party did not fare as well in the General Assembly: Six House Democratic incumbents lost their re-election bids, meaning Republicans will grow their tiny caucus in the 75-seat chamber to 11 seats.

The makeup of the solidly Democratic state Senate will not change. There will be five Republicans and one independent in the 38-seat chamber.

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