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Sheldon Whitehouse coasts to victory in Rhode Island primary

The Hill logo The Hill 6 days ago Lisa Hagen
a man wearing a suit and tie © Provided by The Hill

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) won the Democratic primary for Rhode Island's Senate seat, virtually assuring that he'll win a third term in November.

Whitehouse, 62, defeated Patricia Fontes, an 81-year-old social activist and former educator, with 76 percent of the vote after 47 percent of precincts had reported, according to the New York Times projection.

No Senate incumbent has lost a primary in either party this campaign cycle.

Fontes, a first-time candidate, ran largely on an anti-war platform against Whitehouse, who was first elected to the Senate in 2006 after serving as Rhode Island attorney general from 1999 to 2003.

Whitehouse ran for governor in 2002, but was defeated in the Democratic primary.

Rhode Island's Senate seat is expected to stay in Democratic hands because of the blue nature of the state, which backed Hillary Clinton by more than 15 points in 2016. The seat is rated as "Solid Democratic" by Cook Political Report.

In November Whitehouse will face Republican attorney Robert Flanders, who served as an associate justice on the Rhode Island Supreme Court.

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