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Politics at RIC – one day, three debates, lots of candidates

The four major candidates for Rhode Island governor debate at RIC on Oct. 29.

The four major candidates for Rhode Island governor debate at RIC on Oct. 29.

David Cicilline and John Loughlin debate.
The American Democracy Project at RIC and NBC 10 teamed up to present a debate triple-header, which drew the candidates for Rhode Island governor and U.S. House of Representatives on Oct. 29. The debates were held in the Nazarian Center’s Sapinsley Hall.

Gubernatorial debate photo gallery

In the afternoon, Rhode Island’s Congressional District 1 debate featured a matchup of Providence Mayor David Cicilline and state Rep. John Loughlin, followed by the District 2 contest between incumbent U.S. Rep. James Langevin ’90 and Mark Zaccaria.

In the evening event, the four major candidates for governor – Ken Block, state Treasurer Frank Caprio, former U.S. Sen. Lincoln Chafee and John Robitaille – argued the issues. Focus groups discussed what they heard from the candidates and filled out questionnaires following the debate.


James Langevin and Mark Zaccaria discuss the issues.
NBC 10’s Bill Rappleye moderated each of the debates, which were conducted in free-form style, offering candidates the chance to engage one another without specific time constraints.

In a first for local debates, selected voters could indicate their approval of disapproval of the candidates’ answers by turning a dial on electrical devices provided by researchers from Southern Methodist University.

Following the gubernatorial debate, RIC professors Valerie Endress and Kay Israel participated in a governor’s race debate analysis broadcast on NBC 10.