Former White House aide Gabe Amo won the Democratic special election primary for the First District of Rhode Island.
Amo, born to Ghanaian and Liberian immigrants, won a crowded Democratic field to keep the seat occupied by former Democratic Rep. David Cicilline, who resigned in May to head the Rhode Island Foundation.
Amo will face Marine veteran Gerry Leonard Jr., endorsed by the Rhode Island GOP and winner of the GOP primary, in the general election on Nov. 7. If Amo wins, he will become the first Black person to represent the state in Congress.
The First District in Rhode Island covers the eastern part of the Ocean State, including north and east Providence, Pawtucket, and Portsmouth. The district is deep-blue, and a Republican hasn’t held the seat since 1995. Cicilline easily retained his seat for a seventh term last fall, winning by 28 points.
Amo previously worked for the Obama administration in the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs. He also worked in the Biden administration and for former Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo as her director of public engagement and community affairs.
According to the Providence Journal, Amo said he served as “Raimondo’s principal advisor on outreach to businesses and labor, faith groups, local government, grassroots organizations, and communities of color.”
Amo has been endorsed by several state Democrats, including former Rep. Patrick Kennedy, who represented the First District for eight terms before Cicilline. Amo is also endorsed by the Congressional Black Caucus.
Amo, a Wheaton College and Oxford University alum, has prioritized preventing gun violence during his campaign, adding that during his White House tenure, he was often “the first to call a Mayor following a mass shooting.”
According to Axios, states that haven’t had a Black person represent it in Congress include Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, and Oregon.
Source: Black Enterprise