PAWTUCKET — With the tallies from all of the precincts now in, Democrat Timothy Rudd was declared the winner of the District 6 City Council race, and three incumbent Democratic senators, District 15's Donna Nesselbush, District 8's James E. Doyle, and District 16's Elizabeth A. Crowley, along with the incumbent Democratic representative in District 46, Jeremiah T. O'Grady, were also victorious in their respective races.
Rudd, a Providence police officer and political newcomer, earned 2,785 votes or over 80 percent of the total as compared to his Republican opponent, Scott Rotondo, who had 662 votes and almost 20 percent of the total.
Rudd said he campaigned on trying to build cohesiveness in the diverse district and will focus on quality of life issues as he assumes the seat that has been held for the past seven years by Councilor James Chadwick.
Rotondo, the lone Republican candidate in the citywide races, said Wednesday that he was undeterred by his loss—and that he actually received more votes than he had expected in the heavily Democratic city.
He also pledged to help Rudd by lending his financial experience, and in any other way that is needed, to improve the district, and said he would not rule out another try at politics at a future date.
Rudd will join fellow political newcomer Terrence E. Mercer, who beat incumbent District 3 Councilor Christopher O'Neill in the Democratic primary on the 9-member City Council and earned 3,605 votes on Tuesday. Seven other incumbent City Councilors, all Democrats, were unopposed in their bid for re-election.
They include David P. Moran in District 1 (3,087 votes), Mark J. Wildenhain in District 2 (3,089 votes), John J. Barry III in District 4 (2,957 votes), Jean Philippe Barros in District 5 (2,623 votes), and the three at-large councilors, Thomas E. Hodge (13,937 votes), Lorenzo C. Tetreault (11,569 votes) and Albert J. Vitali Jr. (11,460 votes).
In Senate District 8, Doyle, the son of former Mayor James E. Doyle, earned 6,181 votes or 75 percent of the total in comparison to independent candidate Beth Croll's 2,000 votes or 24 percent of the total cast.
In Senate District 15, Nesselbush garnered 5,628 votes or 78 percent of the total to beat independent challenger Robert Venturini's finish of 1,558 or 21 percent of the total votes cast.
In the Senate race for District 16, covering Pawtucket and Central Falls, Pawtucket voters gave Crowley 1,461 votes or over 92 percent of the total compared to her Moderate Party opponent, Nicholas S. Gelfusco's showing of 110 votes or 7 percent of the total.
In Representative District 46 covering Pawtucket and Lincoln, O'Grady earned 180 votes from Pawtucket residents, beating independent challenger Mary Ann Shallcross Smith's 95 votes, Republican candidate Matthew A. Guerra's 41 votes and independent candidate Paul J. DiDomenico's 7 votes.
Running unopposed were Senate District 18 candidate William J. Conley, Jr., a Democrat, who earned 3,198 votes in Pawtucket; Representative District 58 incumbent William San Bento Jr., a Democrat, with 3,190 votes; District 59 Representative J. Patrick O'Neill, a Democrat, with 3,405 votes; District 60 Representative Elaine A. Coderre, a Democrat, with 3,107 votes; District 61 Representative Raymond H. Johnston, Jr., a Democrat, with 4,051 votes; and District 62 Representative Mary Duffy Messier, a Democrat, with 3,951 votes.
Also unopposed in his bid for re-election to a second term was Democratic Mayor Donald R. Grebien, who garnered 18,115 votes or 93.5 of the total votes cast.
A recent effort by members of the municipal workers' union, Local 1012, to spark a write-in campaign for Councilor-at-Large Lorenzo Tetreault to be named as mayor resulted in 1,251 total write-in votes being cast. Union members have been angry about Grebien's recent decision to privatize the city's in-house trash and recycling services. As of Wednesday afternoon, the Board of Canvassers had not yet reported out the number of write-in votes that belonged specifically to Tetreault.
Tetrealt told the Times he had never formally been approached by those behind the campaign but was nevertheless flattered by the effort. “It took on a life of its own,” he said. He added that he was currently happy to continue with his councilor at-large seat, but said, “It's nice to know that those who feel frustrated and abandoned feel they have someone they can turn to.”
On the School Committee, all seven candidates who had been the top vote-getters in the Democratic primary remained unopposed on the ballot, although a last-minute write-in campaign was declared by former School Committeeman Joseph Knight. Of the 480 total write-in votes cast, it is not yet known how many were cast for Knight.
Knight told the Times that he decided to run as a write-in because a provision of the City Charter holds that an eight-place finisher for School Committee in the general election would serve as the likely replacement for any School Committee member who resigns before the end of their term. He added that such an appointment would spare the city the cost of a special election.
Of the school board candidates, incumbent Michael A. Araujo earned 12,593 votes, newcomer Sandra C. Cano had 11,723 votes, incumbent Nicole Ann Nordquist garnered 11,064 votes, incumbent David A. Coughlin Jr. received 10,825 votes, incumbent Joanne M. Bonollo had 10,741 votes, incumbent Raymond J. Spooner showed 10,482 votes and incumbent Alan J. Tenreiro earned 10,320 votes.
All 14 ballot questions totaling almost $8 million in capital improvements were readily passed by voters, including $5 million in school health and safety upgrades, $1 million for street and sidewalk construction, $300,000 for sewer and sanitation work, $200,000 for improvements to traffic control devices, $200,000 for reconstruction of bridges, $600,000 for improvements to public recreation facilities, and $700,000 for renovation and improvements to the senior center, public library, police and fire stations, City Hall and other public buildings.
Charlotte Tavares, chairwoman of the city's Board of Canvassers, acknowledged that Pawtucket, like many communities statewide, experienced problems with voting machines becoming jammed up and causing delays at several poll locations. She said that two technicians had been assigned to the city, but thinks there should have been more.
Tavares said that many of the city's voting machines are about 20 years old, but that funding for new machines would have to be allocated through the General Assembly. Despite the long waits for some voters, Tavares said that everyone who was inside their polling place prior to the 8 p.m. closing time was allowed to complete their ballot. “No one lost their right to vote,” she said.