CAMPAIGN 2020

Bucci wins Democratic mayoral primary, will face Hopkins in November

Former Ward 4 councilwoman tops Stycos, will face GOP’s Hopkins in November vote

By DANIEL A. KITTREDGE
Posted 9/16/20

By DANIEL KITTREDGE Bucci versus Hopkins. That's the choice Cranston voters will face in November as the city elects a new mayor for the first time since 2008. In the Democratic mayoral primary, former Ward 4 councilwoman Maria Bucci maintained her lead

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CAMPAIGN 2020

Bucci wins Democratic mayoral primary, will face Hopkins in November

Former Ward 4 councilwoman tops Stycos, will face GOP’s Hopkins in November vote

Posted

Bucci versus Hopkins.

That’s the choice Cranston voters will face in November as the city elects a new mayor for the first time since 2008.

In the Democratic mayoral primary, former Ward 4 councilwoman Maria Bucci maintained her lead over Citywide Councilman Steve Stycos after the Board of Elections added mail ballot counts to its day-of and emergency voting tallies late on the afternoon of Sept. 10. A handful of provision ballots have also since been added to the overall count.

In the end, Bucci won 49.5 percent of the vote – 3,823 of the ballots cast – to Stycos’s 47.3 percent (3,653). Adam Carbone, a comedian who also ran in the Democratic contest, received 3.3 percent of the vote (254).

“I am so excited by these results,” Bucci said in a statement claiming victory. “Cranston voters are ready for the change that I will bring to City Hall. My campaign is all about bringing people together, building strong teams and making government open and accessible to everyone. Together, we will succeed.”

She added: “I want to thank Councilman Steve Stycos for running a positive campaign and for his years of service to the City of Cranston. We share so many of the same values, and I look forward to working with him and all of his supporters to win in November.”

Reached after the mail ballot results were released, Stycos said he had conceded the race and would not seek a recount.

“I want to thank my volunteers, people who’ve made contributions, and the people who voted for me,” he said.

Asked if he was ready to make an endorsement in the race, he said not yet: “I’ve got to take some time off.”

After the results came in, Carbone – who wore a hot dog costume to an August debate in one of the primary contest’s most memorable visuals – provided text of an “obituary” for his campaign, under the headline: “Gone, but not forgotten. You are remembered for the rules you break.”

“It is with heavy hearts, an empty hot dog bun, and a lonely bowl of mashed potatoes that we bid a fond adieu to the Cranston, RI Democratic mayoral campaign of one Adam, I’m Going to Bring Adele to the Gazebo, Carbone,” the text reads. “Carbone put up a good fight, right until the end. Unfortunately the odds were stacked against him and the extended appetizer proposal at Applebee’s will never see the light of day, and the moon will remain in orbit of the Earth; at least for now.”

It adds: “In lieu of flowers, Carbone’s estate kindly asks you to leave envelopes of Spaghetti at the Knightsville Gazebo in his honor.”

Bucci led in the initial tallies on election night, receiving 1,865 of the in-person votes cast on Sept. 8. Stycos received 1,603 of those votes, and Carbone won 155.

Stycos gained slightly when emergency ballot totals were added Sept. 9, winning 292 of those votes to Buccis 283 and Carbones 17.

Stycos also narrowly topped Bucci in the mail balloting, 1,758-1,675, but that proved too slim of a margin to make up the needed ground.

On the Republican side, Citywide Councilman Ken Hopkins had already clinched his party’s nomination based on the results of in-person voting on Sept. 8. With the addition of mail and provisional ballots to the count, his final margin over City Council President Michael Farina stood at 76.5 percent (3,524 votes) to 23.5 percent (1,085 votes).

Hopkins, who has been endorsed by Mayor Allan Fung and declared victory during his election night gathering at the St. Mary’s Feast Society building, issued a statement Sept. 10 after it became clear he would face Bucci in November.

“I welcome Maria to the main event and look forward to comparing my record and vision for Cranston’s future with hers,” Hopkins said.

He added: “The choice as mayor will decide if we grow stronger and move forward or slip back as a city while my opponent gets on the job training. This will be a campaign of my conservative fiscal approach to protecting our tax dollars compared to Maria’s liberal progressive role of government. Maria owes her election to the progressive liberal faction of the Democratic party. Voters will have to decide if we can afford all their ideas and programs.”

Farina, meanwhile, conceded on the night of the election. On Sept. 10, he posted a statement on social media thanking his supporters.

“I am going to focus on my family and grow my career in the private sector,” he wrote. “I love the City of Cranston with all my heart and want to thank you, the Cranston Residents, for allowing me to serve you. It has been my honor.”

The Democratic and Republican mayoral differed significantly in tone over the last several months. The race between Hopkins and Farina was frequently contentious and garnered more media attention early on, while the contest between Bucci and Stycos lacked public sparring and drew fewer headlines.

Bucci’s victory statement points to a development that might give Democrats cause for optimism heading into November. Based on the tallies from the Board of Elections, 7,730 Cranston voters cast ballots in the Democratic mayoral primary – significantly more than the 4,609 who voted in the GOP primary.

A review of figures from past elections, however, suggests the primary turnout is not necessarily predictive of November’s outcome. Specifically, the 2018 statewide primary election, in which Fung was a candidate for governor, provides some evidence of why last week’s turnout may not be the harbinger Democrats would hope.

In Cranston that year, Gov. Gina Raimondo won 3,978 votes, or roughly 51.6 of those cast, to earn the Democratic nomination in her reelection bid. Former secretary of state Matt Brown received 3,073 votes, or just less than 40 percent of those cast, while former state representative Spencer Dickinson received 659 votes, or 8.5 percent.

In all, 7,710 Democratic votes were cast in the 2018 gubernatorial primary – almost identical to the number in last week’s mayoral contest.

On the Republican side in 2018, Fung received 3,695 votes in Cranston – more than 82 percent of those cast – as he made a second bid for governor. That was far more than former state representative Patricia Morgan (735 votes, 16.3 percent) and businessman Giovanni Feroce (68 votes, 1.5 percent) received in the city.

In all, 4,498 votes were cast in the 2018 GOP gubernatorial primary – roughly 100 less than in last week’s Republican mayoral contest.

Ultimately, Fung won Cranston by a wide margin that year, receiving 16,651 votes (53 percent) to Raimondo’s 12,687 (40.4 percent) in the general election.

Precinct-level data from last week’s primary shows both Hopkins and Bucci won across the city.

A review shows Bucci carried 20 of the city’s 30 precincts, while Stycos won nine.

Carbone, meanwhile, actually carried one precinct – No. 0728, which votes at the Schofield Armory on New London Avenue. That precinct is part of House District 20 – the rest of which represents Warwick – and serves residents of the Eleanor Slater Hospital.

At that location, Carbone received three votes, while Bucci received one and Stycos won zero. All of the Democratic ballots were cast by mail. No Republican ballots were cast at that precinct.

Stycos carried precincts in Edgewood, which he represented on the City Council for multiple terms before winning his citywide seat, by wide margins. At William Hall Library, for example, he received 483 votes to Bucci’s 113, a 79.4-18.6 percent margin. At Edgewood Highland Elementary School, he received 471 votes to Bucci’s 169, a 72.5-26 percent margin.

Those tallies weren’t enough, however, to bridge the gap from Bucci’s wins in other parts of the city. Among her best precincts was No. 0701, which votes at the Cranston Senior Enrichment Center. There, she won 180 votes to Stycos’s 69, a 70.9-27.2 percent margin.

Precincts 0711, which votes at Western Hills Middle School, and 0722, which votes at the Pastore Youth Center, were the most representative of the final outcome on the Democratic side.

At Western Hills, Bucci won 142 votes, or 51.4 percent of those cast, to Stycos’s 122 votes, or 44.2 percent. Carbone received 12 votes there, good for 4.3 percent.

At the Pastore Youth Center, Bucci won 75 votes, or 50.7 percent, to Stycos’s 69 votes, or 46.6 percent. Carbone won four votes, or 2.7 percent.

On the Republican side, Hopkins carried all 30 precincts – and all by wide margins. Precinct 0709, which also votes at the Schofield Armory, was most representative of the citywide GOP outcome, with Hopkins winning 287 votes (76.7 percent) to Farina’s 87 votes (23.3 percent).

Bucci, elections

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