All of the Statewide Referendums Approved - Twin River By the Slimest Margin

Wednesday, November 09, 2016


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Restoring the Ethics Commission’s oversight of the legislature is one of the referendum questions that is a big winner Tuesday night. Rhode Island voters were asked to approve seven referendum measures and all of them were approved. But while ethics swept to victory, issues relating to Twin River’s move of Newport 

Common Cause Rhode Island’s Executive Director John Marion said regarding the passage of Question 2, “By saying ‘yes’ on Question 2 today, voters said ‘yes’ to ethics, transparency, and a better Rhode Island. Because of this victory once again our lawmakers will be held accountable for any conflicts of interest, and citizens will know that legislators are serving the public interest, not their own self-interest. We send our sincere thanks to everyone involved with this effort. Whether you put up a yard sign, passed out literature, or filled in the bubble on Election Day, you helped make Rhode Island a better place to live and a better place to do business.”

Ethics restoration won with 77.5% of the vote.

Most Surprising 

The expansion of gaming into Tiverton has won Statewide by a 55% to 45% margin, but in Tiverton, the proposed casino is holding on by just 250 votes. The referendum needs to win both statewide and in the host community. In Tiverton 3,927 approved the question (51.9%) and 3,644 voted opposed (48.1%). There are an estimated 800 paper ballots to be count.

Veterans Home Bonds — Question 3 — won by the largest margin — 83.6% approved the $27 million in funding.

Question 4 — over $45 million for URI engineering and innovation initiatives passed with 58.9% of the vote. According to the coalition pushing the ballot measure, “it  will attract businesses and create the high-paying, high-skilled jobs Rhode Island needs by authorizing $45.5 million in bonds to expand URI’s highly successful College of Engineering and create a URI-affiliated innovation campus that will pair cutting edge research with private sector investments to create the jobs of the future.”

Funding for Quonset and ProvPort passed 62.7% — Question 5 totaled $70 million in combined funding for the two ports including $20 million for the privately owned ProvPort.

Rhode Islander’s support for the environment continued to show strength as 67% of Rhode Islanders voted in support of the “Green Economy Bonds.”

Lastly, the $50 million bond question to support affordable housing — it  passed with 58% approval.


Related Slideshow: RI’s Biggest House Races - 2016

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Claiming Victory

District 15: Rep. Mattiello - Steve Frias

Speaker of the House Nicholas Mattiello declared victory around 8:30 on election night — but the race comes down to mail ballots, and opponent Steve Frias, who was ahead at the close of of polls with all precincts reporting, is not conceding. 

With 100% of precincts reporting, Frias was up 3297 to 3150 votes — with independent Patrick Vallier posting 172 votes — good for a Frias lead of 49.8% to Mattielloas 47.5%.

Mattiello told supporters at the Oaklawn Grange however that he was confident that he had enough mail ballots to put him ahead of Frias by he thought 300 votes.

Frias told supporters he thought he would prevail, however. 

“I think I’m going to win this,” Frias said in a brief speech to supporters at the Shriners Hall in Cranston.

See that coverage here.

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Democrat Lose one seat

Marcello Loses Seat

Incumbent Representative Michael Marcello fell Tuesday night to Republican challenger Bob Quattrocchi in District 41.

With all precincts reporting, Marcello had 3568 votes to Quattrocchi's 3805, falling with 48.3% of the vote to his opponent's 51.5%.

Marcello, who was first elected to the GA in 2008 after serving on the Scituate Town Council, had challenged now-Speaker of the House Nicholas Mattiello for the seat when former Speaker Gordon Fox stepped down. 

So who is Bob Quattrocchi?  Read what he had to say about running HERE.

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Upstart Held Off

Almeida Holds Off Vargas

Incumbent Rep. Joe Almeida appears to have turned back a strong effort by independent challenger Luis Vargas in District 12 in Providence.
The unofficial results with all precincts reporting had Almeida having a comfortable lead of 1741 votes to Vargas’ 1555, good for 52.7% of the vote to Vargas’ 47%.

Almeida (D) served in the House from 1999 to 2010 and was elected again in November 2012 in District 12 in the South Side and Washington Park in Providence. He is a member of the House Judiciary Committee and the House Rules Committee.

In 2015, Almeida, who was arrested for misappropriation of campaign funds for personal use, pled guilty to a misdemeanor for one year probation and a $1,000 fine.

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Another Dem Wins

District 75: Rep. Carson - Mike Smith

Incumbent: Rep. Lauren Carson

Challenger(s): Mike Smith

Representative Lauren Carson beat back a challenge from Mike Smith, who had previously challenged Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed in the last election cycle. Carson scored the victory with 56 percent of the vote to Smith’s 44 percent.

Carson has made headlines this year as a pit bull on the tourism issue. She vehemently called out the Raimondo administration over the botched roll out of the new program along with several other areas surrounding the issue.

Smith, however, sought to make inroads with voters by however, in part on the 38 Studios issue, by pointing out that when Carson for the State Police to release the interview notes in September, it was a hollow gesture (in his opinion)  since she had voted in June against a budget article calling for the appointment of an independent investigator.

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Too Close to Call?

Another Too Close to Call

Republican Rep. Robert Lancia holds a 14 vote lead over Christopher Millea in District 16.

This race was too close to call as of 11 p.m. on Election Night, with Lancia having 3,098 votes to challenger Millea’s 3,084 with 100% of precincts reporting.

The race goes to paper - stay tuned to see who prevails. 

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Dems Hold Key Seat

District 27: Rep. Serpa - Mark Bourget

Incumbent: Rep. Patricia Serpa (D)

Challenger(s): Mark Bourget (I)

Representative Patricia Serpa, normally a very genial and amiable representative, took a starkly different tone in the month leading up the election, having aggressively questioned the Raimondo administration over the failed rollout of the UHIP system and calling into question its competence. It was a similar tack taken by Mattiello in the weeks leading up to the election, who had downright illustrated his differences with her and bragged about his propensity for standing up to her agenda.

It is difficult to know whether it was that strategy which proved effective or not, but Serpa was able to win once again, taking her sixth term as a state representative. Serpa prevailed with 56 percent of the vote, compared to her opponent, Mark Bourget’s 44 percent.

Serpa recently came under fire for her failure and refusal to subpoena the investigatory materials from the 38 Studios investigation.

Her opponent, Mark Bourget, an independent who has recently been a Republican, ran his campaign based on the issue of opposing corruption. Bourget also pledged to try and improve the state’s business climate. Undoubtedly, Clinton’s strong performance in Rhode Island, didn’t help him.

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Roberts Beats Tomasso

District 29: Rep. Roberts - Lisa Tomasso 

Incumbent: Rep. Sherry Roberts (R)

Challenger(s): Lisa Tomasso (D)

This race was a 2014 rematch that put incumbent Republican Sherry Roberts against Democrat Lisa Tomasso — who had been elected to represent the district in 2010 and 2012 before being defeated last cycle.

The rematch was won by Roberts, who scored a 55 to 45 victory in District 29, which includes portions of Coventry and West Greenwich, over Tomasso.

This was one of the most highly anticipated contests in the legislature this year, since Tomasso basically began campaigning to retake the seat the day she lost it in 2014. Tomasso was a strong ally of House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello, and outside of his own District-15 seat, this race was perhaps the race he wanted to see go his way the most.

Despite that fact, Tomasso waged her campaign with a heavy bent on stressing the importance of restoring ethics back into the state legislature, vowing to do more to improve the ethical climate in the so-called House of Ambition (by former House Speaker turned big-time lobbyist William Murphy.

Roberts focused on her desire to bring a more fiscally conservative approach into the state government, in an effort to revive the state’s economy. This is a big hold for the Rhode Island Republicans.

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Morgan wins

District 26: Rep. Morgan - Anthony Paolino, Vin Marzullo

The state legislature’s most vocal voice for fiscal conservatism and good government beat back a two-person challenge by Anthony Paolino, a Democrat, and Vincent Marzullo, and independent. Morgan scored 55 percent of the vote to Paolino’s 36 percent to Marzullo’s 9 percent..

Morgan, a former Republican Party executive director, has a knack for getting good press and positive headlines on a variety of issues, led the fight in the state legislature against the new tolls enacted by the General Assembly this year--despite their unpopularity with most residents. Put plainly, Morgan is a Republican champion in the state legislature.

Paolino on the Democratic side, is a veteran of Democratic politics in Rhode Island. Independent Marzullo, who is known for his long-term work in the state’s service community, having overseen the AmeriCorps VISA program.

Morgan has recently decried the Raimondo administration’s botched UHIP roll out. Marzullo demanded Morgan denounce Trump, and Paolino has appealed to those “tired of the business as usual politics and ineffective career politicians.”

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DeSimone Goes Down

District 5: Rep. DeSimone - Rangin-Vassell, Roland Lavallee

Incumbent: Rep. John DeSimone*

Challenger(s): Marcia Ranglin-Vassell (D), Roland Lavallee (R)

John DeSimone wasn’t going down without a fight, and he didn’t. But he went down nevertheless--and he went down hard this time.

Marcia Ranglin-Vassell cruised to an easy victory in the General election. Ranglin-Vassell won 2293, votes, which was 64.9%. There were a huge number of write-ins, 672, to be exact, presumably for DeSimone, but it only represented 19 percent of the vote. Roland Joseph Lavallee, a Republican, garnered 568, coming in at 16.1% of the vote.

This was a much different, easier result than the Democratic Primary in September, where she narrowly edged DeSimone. Without his name on the ballot, things got easier. Much easier for her.

DeSimone, the House Majority Leader, was always fighting an uphill battle, as write-in campaigns have, in Rhode Island, historically been unsuccessful. DeSimone’s chances were also likely hurt greatly by the high turnout presidential election.

Brown University Political Science Professor Wendy Schiller told GoLocal this afternoon that write-ins are always difficult, but this year figured to be even more difficult due to higher turnout and the presence of a woman opponent, in a year so many were excited to vote for a woman President in Rhode Island.

“I think write-ins are always very tough. They’re very difficult to win. You really need a lot of people to vote non-standard party might have a voter who is there voting for (David) Cicilline or (James) Langevin, and then they have to go down the ballot, you have to really think ‘well, I’m going to stop, and I’m going to write-in’ this name.’ That’s a lot to ask,” said Schiller.

“In this election, I think it’s going to be tough to have people not follow their party line because we’re so polarized.” she said.

Ranglin-Vassell is a Democrat who was backed by a number of progressive organizations, who promises to try and make the state legislature work harder for the poor.

A Providence school teacher, here’s what Ranglin-Vassell recently told GoLocal about her motivations behind running for office.

“I have spent my entire life working, teaching, and fighting for the community and for families; families who’ve worked hard for everything they have and just want a fair shot. As a mother, a Providence public school teacher, and a community activist, I have done everything I can to give my children, my students, and my neighbors a chance at success. And it’s this background that helped me make the decision to run for State Representative for our community, so I may bring that same passion and determination to the State House on behalf of our neighborhood.”

Lavallee based his campaign upon conservative principles, which proved to be a tough sell in the inner city.

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Shanley Wins

District 24: Stacia Huyler - Evan Shanley

This race featured a former Republican candidate for Mayor of Warwick, Stacia Huyler, (who was easily bested by Scott Avedisian in the 2014 Republican Primary), against Evan Shanley, a nephew of Providence College President Father Brian Shanley.

Evan Shanley prevailed with 54 percent of the vote to Stacia Huyler’s 46 percent, with all precincts reporting.

Both candidates were seeking to replace long-time Warwick state representative Joseph Trillo, who retired after serving two decades in office.

Huyler was an unapologetic supporter of Donald Trump, who campaigned on conservative principles such as cutting taxes, increasing transparency, and making the General Assembly more transparent. She had Trillo’s support.

Shanley campaigned as a more traditional progressive candidate, and enjoyed the support of the well-organized labor unions.

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Ajello wins

District 1: Rep. Ajello - Ray Mathieu

With 92% of the Providence vote in at 9:30, Representative Edith Ajello has a wide margin over challenger Ray Mathieu, with 62.7% of the vote to Mathieu's 32.7%.

GoLocal had tapped the race as one to watch, but Ajello appears headed back to the State House. 

GoLocal wrote: 

The twelve-term Representative for District 1 on the East Side of Providence is facing a strong opponent in 2016.

Democrat Rep. Ajello, who was first elected in 1992, is being challenged by Independent businessman Mathieu, who had been Managing Director and Chief Financial Officers at Prov Equity, the $23 billion private equity firm. 

“I am not looking for a career in politics (I’ve already had two successful careers in banking and private equity) or to serve any special interest groups other than the RI taxpayers,” said Mathieu, who cites John Chafee and Bruce Sundlun among his political inspirations. 
Ajello had been at the forefront of the marijuana legalization front in Rhode Island for years, has been known for her support of legislation protecting civil liberties. 

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GOP Hold Seat?

District 72: Ken Mendonca - Linda Finn

Unofficial results with all five precincts reporting have Republican Kenneth Mendonca ending out a victory over Democrat Linda Finn in District 72, for outgoing incumbent Dan Reilly’s seat. 

The Board of Elections has Mendonca with 525 of the vote (3243) to Linda Dill Finn’s 47.9% of the vote (2984).

As GoLocal wrote leading up to the race: 

The race for Republican Dan Reilly’s District 72 seat finds former Democratic Rep. Finn (who had beat Reilly in 2012 before losing to him in 2014) being challenged by Republican Mendonca.

Former member Finn faced a particularly difficult Democratic primary, which saw Democratic party chair Joe McNamara endorse Finn’s opponent instead, as reported by the Providence Journal.

Staunch gun-control candidate Finn was endorsed however by the Portsmouth and Middletown Democratic committees - and recently refused to take part in the Portsmouth Concerned Citizens debate against opponent Mendonca. 

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Likely Victory for Barros

District 59: Rep Barros - Lori Barden, Andrew Maguire

Representative Jean Philippe Barros appears poised for victory in District 59 in Pawtucket.  As of 10:22, Barros had 74.4% of the vote (1827) to Independent challengers Lori Barden (20.7% - 515 votes) and Andres Maguire (138 votes — 5.5.%).

GoLocal wrote of the race: 

The politics of Pawtucket finds incumbent Rep. Jean Philippe Barros, who was first elected in 2014, facing two Independent names on the ballot, Lori Barden and Andrew Maguire.

In 2014, Barros defeated John Arcaro in the district’s Democratic primary, 804 votes to Arcaro’s 582. 

Now, Arcaro is squaring off against Pawtucket Mayor Donald Grebien — and both Arcaro and Barden were at the recent protest at Hope Artiste Village where former tenants and community activists came out in opposition to controversial California developer getting $3.6 million from the state. 

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Keable: Unofficial Lead

District 47: Rep. Keable - David Place

Another races that appears to be going to paper is Rep. Cale Keable’s race against Republican challenger David Place in District 47.

With all precincts reporting at 11:30, the unofficial results with the Board of Elections had Keable up exactly 60 votes, tallying 2899 to Place’s 2839.
Stay tuned to see of Keable holds on with any mail ballots in play for the win. 


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