• The Latest: Democrats endorse House speaker for another term

    Updated:
    CRANSTON, R.I. (AP) - The Latest on Rhode Island Democrats deciding whether to return Democratic House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello to his powerful leadership post (all times local):

    8:45 p.m.

    Rhode Island Democrats have endorsed Democratic House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello to remain in his powerful leadership post.

    Their caucus was Thursday night in Cranston. Mattiello needed 38 votes and received 44.

    Before the meeting, 18 Democrats publicly said they wouldn't back Mattiello. Three more lawmakers also voted no. Several said they felt the legislative process isn't transparent and Mattiello is dismissive of women's issues.

    The Rhode Island National Organization for Women and the Rhode Island Coalition Against Gun Violence had asked lawmakers to oust Mattiello as speaker.

    The speaker is officially elected by all 75 House members in January. With enough votes from Democrats, Mattiello is guaranteed the job.

    He says he has support from moderate and conservative Democrats and he'll reach out to "progressives."

    No one ran against Mattiello for speaker.

    ___

    2:45 p.m.

    Rhode Island Democrats are meeting to decide whether to return Democratic House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello to his powerful leadership post.

    Their caucus is Thursday night in Cranston.

    The Rhode Island National Organization for Women and the Rhode Island Coalition Against Gun Violence are asking lawmakers to oust Mattiello as speaker. They don't feel he's responsive to issues important to them. Mattiello has also recently faced criticism over his handling of sexual harassment claims at the state house.

    The speaker is officially elected by all 75 House members in January. But if Democrats select Mattiello Thursday, that guarantees him the job since there are few Republican representatives.

    He needs 38 votes. Eighteen of 66 Democrats said they wouldn't back Mattiello.

    Mattiello calls his opponents "extreme progressives." He was narrowly re-elected Tuesday.

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