Kilmartin '98 is New Attorney General
RWU Law alum Peter Kilmartin '98 has been elected as the new Attorney General of Rhode Island. The Providence Journal's Tracey Breton published an article, "Former police officer Kilmartin tops field".
November 3, 2010 - Peter F. Kilmartin [RWU Law '98], a longtime Democratic state representative who spent 24 years as a Pawtucket police officer before starting a law career, won a five-way race Tuesday to become the state’s next attorney general.
Kilmartin, 48, a former House majority whip who raised almost four times as much as his nearest opponent and spent more than $630,000 in the hotly fought contest to become the state’s chief law enforcement officer, beat Republican Erik B. Wallin [RWU Law '97], 40, a former state and military prosecutor; Moderate Party candidate Christopher H. Little, 61, a veteran civil trial lawyer; and two independents, Keven A. McKenna, 65, another veteran lawyer, and Robert E. Rainville, 40, a former probate judge and lobbyist.
Kilmartin had 43.2 percent of the vote to 28.9 percent for Wallin; 14.2 percent for Little; 9.7 percent for McKenna and 4 percent for Rainville.
His campaign said “that to the best of our knowledge, Peter will be the first former police officer to become attorney general for Rhode Island.” He was the endorsed Democrat who beat two opponents in a bruising September primary. It was Kilmartin’s first bid for statewide office. Except for McKenna, a former state representative, Kilmartin was the only candidate in the general election who’d been in public office before.
Kilmartin celebrated his victory first at a packed Patrick’s Pub on Smith Hill, a political haunt in Providence, where he was joined by his wife, Kristine, and 87-year-old mother, Dottie Kilmartin, as well as more than 100 supporters drinking Guinness and eating chicken wings. He thanked everyone for their hard work and vowed to fight for the people of Rhode Island. In an interview, he said, “I know we have a big job ahead of us.” He said he thought his positive and issues-oriented campaign and his background in law enforcement capped his election.
Wallin, the second-place finisher, attributed Kilmartin’s victory to the divided field. He said now it’s everyone’s responsibility to make sure that Kilmartin lives up to his promises. “While we may not have won the night, I take comfort that our issues have been front and center.”
Kilmartin, a member of the General Assembly for the last 20 years, was always the front-runner in the campaign to succeed the term-limited Patrick C. Lynch, but his campaign took nothing for granted. His campaign manager, Brett Broesder, said there were more than 300 volunteers who helped to get out voters Tuesday.Kilmartin spent about $350,000 on advertising and over the weekend, distributed nearly 20,000 leaflets. Kilmartin said he planned to make the office one that would root out unethical conduct by elected officials, as well as other abuses. He has proposed a dizzying array of initiatives that include creating at least five new task forces to tackle topics as varied as youth issues, to empowering women, to offering better services to veterans.
The campaign turned nasty, especially in recent weeks, with some of the candidates hurling accusations at each other. Two of Kilmartin’s opponents –– Wallin and Little –– attacked Kilmartin as a State House insider, a pay-to-play politician who, as a longtime member of the House leadership, was too close to elected officials to be trusted to police their behavior. Little attacked him for not having enough experience as a lawyer to become attorney general. It’s unclear how many clients Kilmartin has had or how much money he’s made practicing law; his campaign refused to provide that information.
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