UPDATE: Big Win for Progressives as RI Dems Rescind Endorsements

Moira Jayne Walsh, Incumbent Democratic candidate for Rhode Island State Legislature, District 3, Providence. In an interview with Philanthropy Women, Walsh stated she does not want the endorsement of a party the endorses John Carnevale, who has been accused of sexual assault and domestic violence.

Great news for progressives in Rhode Island, as Moira Jayne Walsh and Bridgett Valverde prevail in their efforts to correct the Democratic party after it veered off course and endorsed some decidedly unfit candidates. From WPRI:

Bowing to heavy pressure from progressives locally and nationally, the Rhode Island Democratic Party on Thursday rescinded its endorsement of two controversial General Assembly candidates.

In a letter dated July 4, Democratic Party Chairman Joe McNamara withdrew his endorsement of Michael Earnheart, a pro-Trump challenger running in the primary against incumbent Rep. Moira Walsh, and Greg Acciardo, a former state senator with a criminal record who is running against a progressive newcomer, Bridget Valverde, in Senate District 35. [Full Text]

The Rhode Island chapter of the National Organization for Women shared a copy of the letter to Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea, withdrawing the controversial endorsements:

It’s nice to be one of the Rhode Island progressive Democrats celebrating this victory today. I supported Moira Jayne Walsh and Marcia Ranglin-Vassell and was pleased to wake up this morning and learn that the Democratic Party listened to concerns and did the right thing. It’s also an interesting example of participatory democracy. The party demonstrated a more relational attitude regarding the public’s concerns, especially as these concerns gained national attention, and took action regarding that new relational attitude.

In a text message, Moira Jayne Walsh let me know that she will not be asking the party to reconsider their non-endorsement of her. “I don’t want to belong to a party that endorses John Carnevale,” she said. Carnevale is currently on trial for perjury after being accused of not living in the district he represented, and in 2011, he was arraigned for first and second degree sexual assault charges. Carnevale’s ex-wife has sought restraining orders against him several times, alleging physical abuse. In police statements, Carnevale’s ex-wife reported that Carnevale had “choked and punched her, struck her with a cord, pinned her against a wall, slapped her, and dragged her by the wrist out of her house in separate incidents.”

There is still much work to be done to make the Democratic party in Rhode Island a more ethical organization. The party also needs to be more representative of the population and more adherent to core values of equality and inclusion. However, it’s good to know that the avenues of communication appear to be working well enough that party leadership got the message loud and clear over the past few days, and responded to the call.

Bridgett Valverde, who was also victorious in getting the party to rescind its  endorsement of her opponent, Gregory Acciardo, had this to say:

If you are interested in knowing more about these progressive women running for office in Rhode Island, please visit their websites:

Moira Walsh, Democrat for House of Representatives in Rhode Island

Marcia Ranglin-Vassell, Democrat for House of Representatives in RI

Jeanine Calkin, Democrat for Senate in Rhode Island

Bridget Valverde, Democrat for Senate in RI


Women Donors: Rhode Island Women Candidates Need Your Help

Small But Mighty: Women’s Fund of Rhode Island Makes New Round of Grants

Cheers for the Winners. Now Help Us Meet More Women Candidates

Author: Kiersten Marek

Kiersten Marek, LICSW, is the founder of Philanthropy Women. She practices clinical social work and writes about how women donors and their allies are advancing social change.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.