Democrat Gina Raimondo becomes Rhode Island's first female governor

Svea Herbst-Bayliss

Democrat Gina Raimondo, who gained national attention for overhauling Rhode Island's ailing pension system, won a close race to become the state's first woman governor.

Raimondo, 43, a businesswoman who has been the state’s general treasurer since 2010, won 40 percent of the vote, defeating Allan Fung, 44, the mayor of Cranston, the state's third largest city, who got 37 percent. Moderate party candidate Bob Healey won 22 percent of the vote.

Raimondo will replace Governor Lincoln Chafee, who was elected in 2010 as an independent but became a Democrat last year and chose not to run for a second term. The heavily Democratic state had not elected a Democratic governor since 1992.

Raimondo and Fung had been locked in a neck-and-neck race, battling to win voters with promises to reignite a sputteringeconomy and bringing in political heavyweights to stump on their behalf.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie visited the state three times for Fung, while Raimondo welcomed first lady Michelle Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. President Barack Obama swung through Providence on Friday, posing for pictures with Raimondo at a local eatery.

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