One of Republicans’ challenges in 2018 gubernatorial contests is that there are only nine Democratic-held seats up, providing them with few target opportunities to offset their own vulnerable seats. As a result, they are looking at races that might not seem like obvious targets. First-term Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo’s bid for a second term is one of them. Raimondo’s tenure hasn’t been free of controversy, but she also has accomplishments on which to run, including an improving economy. Progressives have been threatening to field a primary candidate to her left, and that challenge materialized in the form of former Secretary of State Matt Brown. Brown initially said he would run as an independent, but has changed course. There are also two minor candidates seeking the Democratic nomination: former state Rep. Spencer Dickinson and environmental activist Paul Roselli. A Democratic primary is a more challenging contest for Brown than an independent bid would be. Raimondo will have all the benefits of incumbency, including support from national Democrats, and has amassed a substantial war chest. Republicans are thrilled at this development

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