PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse won re-election Tuesday in Rhode Island after fending off a challenge from Republican Bob Flanders.
The Democrat was elected to a third term in the Senate. Whitehouse, of Newport, was first elected in 2006. He is known for being one of the leading voices in the Senate to do more to address climate change.
He successfully pushed for legislation and funding to address the nationwide opioid epidemic. And President Donald Trump signed a bill he co-sponsored to address marine debris in October, praising the bipartisan effort.
Flanders, a former state Supreme Court justice from East Greenwich, said he would be more effective in Washington. He criticized Whitehouse’s focus on climate change.
Whitehouse dismissed that criticism, saying Flanders should look at the maps of what Rhode Island will look like if climate change isn’t addressed soon. He is proud of legislation he wrote creating a fund to help coastal communities address the challenges they face as the consequences of climate change.
In his third term, Whitehouse said that he wants to protect people’s health care, get rid of anonymous “dark money” spending in political campaigns and pass a bill to charge a fee for carbon pollution.
He said he also plans to work on continuing to tackle the opioid crisis and will push to undo features of the Republican tax bill that he says worsen income inequality.
“There are some big fights ahead that I really want to win,” he said.
Whitehouse is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Flanders tried to rally supporters during the campaign by saying that Whitehouse’s questions were disrespectful during the confirmation hearing for Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Whitehouse says he received positive feedback and his approach was the right one.
Whitehouse raised $6.5 million in this election cycle, compared to about $1.1 million for Flanders, according to federal filings.