Above: Democrats campaign at Frenchtown Tuesday morning: Mike Donegan, Sen. Jack Reed, Renu Englehart, state Sen. Bridget Valverde, Will Valverde, and Democratic Town Committee head Christa Thompson.
Democrats Justine Caldwell and Bridget Valverde won reelection Tuesday – Caldwell will return as state representative for District 30 (EG and WG) and Valverde will return as state senator for District 35 (EG, NK, SK, and Narragansett).
It didn’t look that way up into early Wednesday morning, before the mail ballot results were announced. Republicans Anthony Giarrusso (running for House District 30) and Charles Callanan (Senate) both led in the count after Election Day and early in-person (i.e. “emergency”) votes were announced. Mail ballots, however, when they were finally posted a little after 1 a.m., proved decisive. Caldwell had 2,275 mail ballots, over Giarrusso’s 948. Valverde had 4,143 mail ballots to Callanan’s 1,506.
The Caldwell-Giarrusso contest was a rematch from 2018, when Caldwell narrowly beat then-incumbent Giarrusso. As in 2018, the animosity between the two candidates was palpable.
During the campaign, Caldwell highlighted Giarrusso’s support for President Donald Trump (Giarrusso ran to be a Trump delegate) and Giarrusso painted Caldwell as a pawn of House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello. Anonymous mailers – also a reprise from 2018 – tried to tarnish Caldwell. But her margin of victory this time was comfortable. Caldwell won by around 400 votes, 52 percent to 48 percent.
Valverde, who lives in North Kingstown, had far better name recognition in District 35. Callanan, from East Greenwich, rubbed some people the wrong way with his abrasive social media presence. Valverde’s margin of victory was significant – 1,700 votes, 55 percent to 45 percent.
There was no contest in the Senate Dist. 33 race – incumbent Leonidas Raptakis ran unopposed. Find all the election results HERE.
With COVID-19 rates soaring, it is disappointing that our elected state and town officials don’t practice social distancing. One must wear a mask AND social distance at least 6 ft from others. The photo above is a terrible optic.