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US Senate 2012 Election in Rhode Island

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US Senate 2012 Election in Rhode Island
This article presents facts, analysis, and predictions for Rhode Island's 2012 U.S. Senate election race.

See 2012 Senate Elections - Who's Winning, Who's Losing for an overview of all 33 US Senate races, on a state-by-state basis.

The Incumbent US Senator
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, a Democrat, was first elected to the U.S. Senate. Whitehouse served in elelctive office as Rhode Island Attorney General from 1998 to 2002, and was appointed by President Clinton as U.S. Attorney for Rhode Island from 1994 to 1998.

Sen. Whitehouse is highly respected as an astute legal voice. As a result, the freshman senator was made a member of the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee. In the 112th Congress, he is also a member of the Senate Budget, Environment and Public Works, and Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committees.

In 2012, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse is running for reelection as U.S. senator from Rhode Island.

Rhode Island's 2012 Senate Race
Democratic incumbent Whitehouse will face the August 7, 2012 Republican primary race winner, who will be one of seven candidates:

  • Scott Avedisian, mayor of Warwick,
  • Vincent "Buddy" Cianci, Jr., mayor of Providence from 1975 to 1984 and from 1991 to 2002
  • Alan Hassenfeld, former President of Hasbro Toys from 1989 to 2008
  • Barry Hinckley, a software entrepreneur from an old-line New England family
  • John J. Loughlin
  • John Robitaille, 2010 Republican gubernatorial candidate
  • Catherine T. Taylor
Who Will Win?
RealClearPolitics.com rates blue-state Rhode Island's 2012 U.S. election as a "Safe Democratic Seat."

Recent Election Results
Rhode Island's two U.S. senators serving in the 112th Congress (2011 to 2012) are:

  • Democrat Jack Reed, serving his third term
  • Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse, now completing his first term
Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee is an Independent, and Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Roberts is a Democrat. Gov. Chafee served one term in the U.S. Senate as a Republican, before registering as a political Independent.

Both members of Rhode Island's delegation to the U.S. House of Representatives are Democrats.

In the last four presidential elections, Rhode Island voted as follows:

  • 2008 - 63% for Democrat Obama, 36% for Republican McCain
  • 2004 - 58% for Democrat Kerry, 40% for Republican Bush
  • 2000 - 58% for Democrat Gore, 33% for Republican Bush, 9% for Other
  • 1996 - 58% for Democrat Clinton, 28% for Republican Dole, 14% for Other
Rhode Island Economic Facts and Voter Demographics
Unemployment Rate as of June 2011 - Rhode Island experienced a very high unemployment rate during 2011 and into 2012. The state's unemployment rate in June 2011 was 10.8%, far higher than the national average and ranking 3rd among all states.

Foreclosure Rates as of June 2011 - In 2011, Rhode Island experience a high home foreclosure. The June 2011 foreclosure rate was 1 in every 636 homes, which ranked 14th among all states.

State Residents Living Below Poverty-Level Income - Per the 2010 Census, 11.7% of Rhode Island residents live below the poverty line, which ranked 30th among all states.

Labor Union Membership - Rhode Island is home to 82,000 labor union members, representing 17.4% of all workers in the state.

Senior Citizen Population - 14.4% of Rhode Island residents are 65 years old and over, which ranks 9th among all states.

Women as a Percentage of State Population - Women comprise 51.6% of Rhode Island's population, which ranks 2nd among all states, behind Alabama and tied with four other eastern U.S. states.

Hispanic Population - 12.4% of Rhode Island residents are of Hispanic heritage, which ranks 13th among all states.

African-American Population - 6% of Rhode Island residents are African-Americans, which ranks 27th among all states.

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