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Gabe Amo becomes Rhode Island's first Black member of Congress

Amo survived a tight primary and took a lead in polling over Republican Gerry Leonard to take the Congressional seat.
Democrat Gabe Amo.
Posted at 7:35 AM, Nov 07, 2023

Despite it being an odd-numbered year, there was one congressional race worth watching on Election Day on Tuesday. Voters in Rhode Island have decided to elect Democrat Gabe Amo, who will now become the state’s first Black member of Congress. 

The race to fill out the rest of Cicilline's term was between Amo and Republican Gerry Leonard. 

Amo survived a tight primary and took a lead in polling over Leonard.

President Joe Biden called Amo to congratulate him on the election victory, the White House press office announced on Tuesday night. 

Rhode Island's 1st Congressional District went up for grabs after Rep. David Cicilline resigned to become president of the Rhode Island Foundation. 

In an October poll conducted by the Pell Center at Salve Regina University, Amo was leading Leonard 46%-35% among likely voters who said they were undecided. Amo survived a tight primary, edging out Aaron Regunberg - a former state representative - for a win during the race.

Polling previously indicated that Amo would become the first Black member of Congress from Rhode Island. Polling showed that he was leading Leonard among Black voters 62-12. Amo also lead 50-27 among Hispanics, 45-39 among White voters, and 46-8 among Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders during pre-vote polling. 

Poll: Trump leads Biden in 5 key battleground states
President Joe Biden, left, and former President Donald Trump.

Poll: Trump leads Biden in 5 key battleground states

The New York Times and Siena College poll shows Biden has lost significant ground among Black and Hispanic voters.


Leonard had hoped to overcome the polling and state political history to win. A Republican has not won a House seat in Rhode Island since 1994. According to Leonard's campaign biography, he had a 30-year career in the US Marine Corps with multiple overseas deployments. 

Voters will soon decide on how to fill the other seat in another state. There will be a special election later in November to complete a term in Utah.