POLITICAL WINDS

As field finalized, just 2 ward council races remain

By DANIEL A. KITTREDGE
Posted 7/15/20

Just two of the six ward seats on the City Council will be contested this fall after declared Republican candidates in wards 1 and 3 failed to submit the required number of signatures to qualify for ballot placement. Ward 1

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POLITICAL WINDS

As field finalized, just 2 ward council races remain

Posted

Just two of the six ward seats on the City Council will be contested this fall after declared Republican candidates in wards 1 and 3 failed to submit the required number of signatures to qualify for ballot placement.

Ward 1 Councilwoman Lammis Vargas and Ward 3 Councilman John Donegan, both first-term Democrats, exceeded the signature threshold are now poised to seek reelection without opposition.

Christopher Maxwell and Jay Bombardier Jr. had declared their candidacy for the Ward 1 and Ward 3 seats, respectively, but both fell short of the 50 required signatures based on figures from the Cranston Board of Canvassers.

Vargas and Donegan join Ward 4 Councilman Ed Brady and Ward 5 Councilman Chris Paplauskas – both Republicans who had no declared challengers – in running unopposed.

All four of the unopposed incumbents have qualified for the November ballot based on their signature tallies.

The contested ward council races will be in wards 2 and 6. Democrat Aniece Germain and Republican Zac Sailer have qualified to seek the Ward 2 seat, which is currently vacant following the resignation of Democrat Paul McAuley. In Ward 6, Republican Matt Reilly and Democrat Paul Bucci have both qualified for the ballot in the race to succeed Council Vice President Michael Favicchio, who is leaving the council due to term limits.

The field for the council’s three citywide seats has also come into full focus.

The three endorsed Republican citywide hopefuls – Robert Ferri, Nicole Renzulli and Don Roach – have all qualified for the November ballot.

A primary is set on the Democratic side of the citywide race, with four candidates having qualified for the ballot. School Committee member Paul Archetto, Larry Warner and Dylan Zelazo are the party’s endorsed candidates, while Jessica Marino will seek to win a spot on the November ballot in the Sept. 8 primary.

Alphonse Cardi III, who had been recruited to run on the GOP slate but submitted nomination papers as an independent, did not submit signatures to qualify for the ballot.

Expected primaries are also finalized in the race to succeed Allan Fung as mayor. On the Republican side, party-endorsed City Council President Michael Farina and Fung-endorsed Citywide Councilman Ken Hopkins will square off in September for a spot on the November ballot. On the Democratic side, three candidates have qualified – Citywide Councilman Steve Stycos, former Ward 4 council member Maria Bucci and Adam Carbone.

It appears likely that all seven nonpartisan seats on the Cranston School Committee will be uncontested in November’s election, although one issue remains.

In Ward 1, Stephanie Gyamfi-Darkwah had declared her candidacy to challenge incumbent Sara Tindall-Woodman. Only 34 of the 50 signatures she submitted to the Board of Canvassers were found to be valid, however, and at this point she has not qualified for the ballot.

City Registrar Nick Lima on Tuesday said Gyamfi-Darkwah has submitted a challenge asking that the 16 disqualified signatures be counted. The Board on Canvassers was scheduled to meet July 15 to hear and decide on that challenge.

Lima said most of the signatures in question were not accepted because they came from people who reside outside the city.

If the signature count stands, Tindall-Woodman and five other incumbents – citywide representative Michael Traficante, Ward 2’s Kristen Haroian, Ward 4’s Vincent Turchetta, Ward 5’s David Alden-Sears and Ward 6’s Daniel Wall, who serves as the committee’s chairman – are set to return to the committee in the next term without opposition after qualifying for the November ballot.

In Ward 3, former committee member Domenic Fusco has qualified for the ballot as he seeks to regain the seat he lost to – and which is being vacated by – Archetto.

General Assembly and Congress

In terms of General Assembly races, the field has also been finalized following the end of the nomination period.

In House of Representatives District 14, Democratic Rep. Charlene Lima has no opponent as she seeks reelection and has qualified for the ballot. The same goes for Democratic Rep. Arthur Handy in District 18.

In District 15, Democratic House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello and Republican challenger Barbara Ann Fenton-Fung have both qualified for the ballot in what promises to be among the most closely watched races in Rhode Island.

In District 16, incumbent Democratic Rep. Christopher Millea faces a primary challenge from Brandon Potter. Maryann Lancia has qualified for the ballot as a Republican.

In District 17, Democrat Jacquelyn Baginski is poised to run without opposition. She has been endorsed by Democratic Rep. Robert Jacquard, who declined to seek reelection. Republican David McGinn declared for the seat but did not submit nomination signatures, according to the Board of Canvassers figures.

In District 19, which includes parts of Cranston and Warwick, Rep. Joseph McNamara and his declared Democratic primary challenger, Stuart Wilson, each submitted enough signatures to earn ballot placement. So has Patrick Maloney Jr., who declared his candidacy for the seat as an independent.

District 20 Rep. David Bennett, a Democrat whose district includes part of Cranston, has no declared challengers and also submitted enough signatures to qualify for the ballot.

In District 41, which includes Scituate and parts of Cranston, Republican incumbent Rep. Robert Quattrocchi submitted enough signatures to qualify for the ballot. Two declared Democratic hopefuls, Pamela Carosi and Giuseppe Mattiello, are set to square off in a primary.

In District 42, which includes portions of Cranston and Johnston, Democrat Edward Cardillo Jr. and Republican Frank Ricci have qualified for the ballot,. Incumbent Democratic Rep. Stephen Ucci is not seeking reelection and is supporting Cardillo for the seat.

For state Senate, Democratic District 26 incumbent Sen. Frank Lombardi and his declared Republican challenger, Anthony Fagundes Sr., have both qualified for the ballot.

In District 27, Democratic incumbent Hanna Gallo and two challengers, Republican Pat Corellessa and independent Jonathan Keith, have all qualified for ballot placement.

In District 28, Democratic incumbent Sen. Joshua Miller and independent Robert Schattle have qualified for the ballot

In District 31, which represents portions of Cranston and Warwick, a crowded field has emerged to succeed retiring Sen. Erin Lynch Prata, who is seeking appointment to the Rhode Island Supreme Court.

Four Democrats have qualified for the September primary ballot – Brian Dunckley, Kendra Anderson, Michael Mita and Warwick City Council President Steve Merolla. Two Republicans, John Silvaggio and Scott Zambarano, have also qualified for the primary ballot.

A pair of primaries are also on tap in the state’s Second Congressional District. Democratic incumbent Rep. James Langevin faces a primary challenge from Dylan Conley, while Republicans Robert Lancia and Donald Frederick Robbio have both qualified for the September ballot.

Ballot orders, upcoming deadlines

Ballot orders have already been set for the upcoming mayoral and citywide council primaries.

Farina will appear first on the GOP mayoral ballot, given his endorsement from the Cranston Republican City Committee. Hopkins will appear second.

On the Democratic side, due to the lack of a Cranston Democratic City Committee mayoral endorsement, the three hopefuls will appear in alphabetical order – Bucci, Carbone and Stycos. The three endorsed citywide council hopefuls will also appear alphabetically – Archetto, Warner and Zelazo – followed by Marino.

A local ballot placement lottery is currently scheduled for July 17, although Registrar Nick Lima on Tuesday said that would only be for School Committee races and will only be needed if Gyamfi-Darkwah qualifies for the ballot due to her signatures challenge.

Looking ahead, the voter registration deadline for the Sept. 8 primary arrives Aug. 9. Mail ballot applications for the primary must be submitted by Tuesday, Aug. 18.

The deadline to disaffiliate in order to vote in another party’s primary – a Democrat seeking to cast a ballot in the Republican primary, or vice versa – is Tuesday, Aug. 11. That may be of more interest to voters this year given the mayoral primaries for both parties. Unaffiliated voters may cast a ballot in either party’s primary.

The registration deadline for the Nov. 3 general election is Oct. 4.

politics, primary

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