Sheldon Whitehouse coasts to victory in Rhode Island primary

Sheldon Whitehouse coasts to victory in Rhode Island primary
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Sen. Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseDemocrats urge Rick Perry not to roll back lightbulb efficiency rules Trump DOJ under fire over automaker probe The Hill's Morning Report - Trump eyes narrowly focused response to Iran attacks MORE (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 76.5 percent of the vote after 91 percent of precincts had reported, according to an Associated Press 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 ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonGOP warns Graham letter to Pelosi on impeachment could 'backfire' Hillary Clinton praises former administration officials who testified before House as 'gutsy women' Third-quarter fundraising sets Sanders, Warren, Buttigieg apart MORE 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.