PROVIDENCE - There were no surprises in the races for Rhode Island's two seats in Congress.
Incumbent Democrats David N. Cicilline, in the 1st Congressional District, and James R. Langevin, in the 2nd, each handily saw off a Republican challenger who was running for office for the first time.
The race in District 1 was the slightly closer contest, according to unofficial results from the state Board of Elections with 95 percent of the votes tallied as of 9:45 p.m. Tuesday, with Cicilline taking home 58 percent of the vote to 40 percent for 29-year-old former financial analyst and Iraq War veteran Cormick B. Lynch. Former Providence mayor Cicilline, also a former state legislator, will serve his third term in Congress.
In District 2, Langevin secured his eighth term in office by winning 62 percent of the vote while Rhue Reis, a 57-year-old contractor and Foxwoods Casino worker, got 38 percent.
Both incumbents were heavy favorites, though Cicilline had the tougher road to victory.
In the September Democratic primary, the 53-year-old longtime politician prevailed against a spirited challenge from another young Iraq War veteran with no political experience. Yet Matt Fecteau was able to grab 37 percent of the vote in the primary, despite little funding and no support from the Democratic establishment.
The result would have offered a measure of encouragement to Lynch, who won a Republican primary against fellow political newcomer Stan Tran, a Brown University medical student.
Lynch, a Newport resident, is a former Marine who went on to become a private equity analyst at JP Morgan. He said his top priorities were securing the country's borders and lowering taxes. He also opposed raising thefederal minimum wage, saying it's not the government's job to intervene on wages.
Cicilline is a cosponsor of legislation to increase the minimum wage, saying that families can't live on the income at the current level. He has blamed Republican leadership in the House of Representatives for failing to take up bills on unemployment and immigration.
"I look forward to continuing my work to rebuild the middle class, revitalize American manufacturing, bring good-paying jobs back home, ensure that women receive equal pay for equal work, raise the minimum wage, fix our broken immigration system and make college more affordable," Cicilline said after the votes were tallied.
Langevin, the 50-year-old former Rhode Island secretary of state and former state legislator, had no primary challenger. In Reis he was up against an opponent with aspirations of elected office but without the money to mount a serious challenge.
Reis was tapped to run for the seat by the state GOP after more than a dozen other Republicans refused to run. Calling himself an "ordinary Rhode Islander," Reis said it was time for new blood in Washington. He is opposed to the Affordable Care Act and talked of imposing a uniform tax rate across all income brackets.
Langevin campaigned on his 14-year record in Congress. He said he helped secure funding to build new submarines at Quonset Point and Groton, Conn., and also had a hand in restoring federal funds for career and technical education.
"It has been a challenging time in Washington, but I will continue to find partners across the aisle who are willing to put partisanship aside for the good of the country," Langevin said in a statement.