GOP Adds 4 Candidates to Town Council Race

by | Jul 5, 2022

With only 12 minutes to spare, Town Republican Chair Theresa Daly arrived at the Town Clerk’s office last Thursday with the names of four GOP candidates for Town Council. This was one full day after the normal candidate filing period, buta state law allows state party chairs to submit candidate names one day after the close of candidate filing. 

During the three-day filing period, no Republicans had signed up to run for Town Council; the five incumbent Town Councilors – all Democrats – had signed up to run again: Mark Schwager, Michael Donegan, Caryn Corenthal, Renu Englehart and Michael Zarrella.

On that Thursday afternoon, with help from Town Canvasser Elaine Vespia, Daly got the paperwork filled out and names submitted, but by the time they were finished it was a couple minutes after 4 p.m., the deadline. Vespia consulted with the Secretary of State’s office and they told her to accept the filings and then seek a determination on their validity from the town Board of Canvassers and the town solicitor. 

It took a few days, but Town Manager Andy Nota sent out an email Tuesday with all the endorsed candidates, including the four GOP candidates for Town Council. 

“Customarily, when this happens, we receive formal correspondence from the state chair of the party in writing on letterhead, noting support for the candidate,” said Nota. In this case, that would have been EG’s own Sue Cienki, who is the GOP state committee chair. “In this case, the town committee chair made a note that she came to Town Hall at the request of the state committee chair.” 

That was unusual, he said, but not necessarily a problem. Still, there was also the question of whether or not it was acceptable to receive a candidate filing after the deadline, said Nota.

“So it took a couple of days to work through things.”

The state Board of Elections and the town solicitor both advised accepting the candidates, he said. “We would have immediately called for an emergency meeting of our Board of Canvassers but several members weren’t available until July 11. They have full authority for making such determinations.”

Without the board, the town turned to the solicitor.

“The solicitor provided an opinion based on prior court cases,” said Nota. Those cases showed a deference on issues like these, he said, in part to encourage participation. “I think we feel at this point this is the prudent thing to do … that it would be important to move those names forward.”

The candidates are Paul Nardozzi, Brian Turner, Peter Rodgers, and Brandon Salomon. 

He noted that tomorrow is the day candidates can pick up paperwork to collect the requisite number of signatures to earn a place on the ballot, and they wanted candidates to be able to move forward. 

But, he added, “should there be anyone who takes exception to that, they would be able to file a complaint with our local Board of Canvassers.” 

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  1. David Caldwell

    This seems like the right decision — for election officials to generously interpret the rules so as to meet the goal to encourage participation and make it easier to run.

    It doesn’t sit so well that:

    1. This is the same political party that had several endorsed candidates falsely claim, without evidence, that the same election officials cheated them in 2020,

    2. This is the same political party advocating exactly the opposite when it comes to voting time, that rules should be interpreted as strictly as possible in a way to make it harder for people to vote.

    The election system is fair and professionally run, as this decision illustrates.

    • Denise

      It’s time to stop generalizing candidates based on their party affiliation and to be open to listening. Let’s try to remember we ALL live here and starting the election season off with attacks or generalizations is not the answer to us all working together.

      • David Caldwell

        Didn’t say a word about the candidates.

        The article is about the party — specifically, the party taking action to add its candidates to the ballot even though they didn’t file candidacy forms.

        That party is the one making “attacks” — on nonpartisan election officials. Pointing out that those attacks are unfair and unfounded is not an attack. It’s a defense.

        A defense of people — who *also* “live here” — doing their jobs.

        So if you’re against “attacks,” you might want to respond to Marge’s comments below, full of partisan attacks on Democrats, and let her know she’s out of line. Unless you’re also being partisan.

    • Heather

      I could not agree more!! Thank you for speaking up!

      • Heather

        I was referring to the comment by Mr. Caldwell

  2. Marge

    I find it ironic that Mr. Caldwell (husband of Justine) is crying about some competition from the one side rule in EG from the Council and SC standpoint. What are you afraid of David? Just look at what a mess the D’s have made of our economy, border, education, fossil fuel industry, ect ect. Just look at the way RI is run and the corruption from all the Republicans at the state house, it must be their crazy ideas??? Right?!

    I for one am GLAD that others are running. One party rule is destroying our Gov’t.

    • Jayson

      This is the same party that level funded the schools and that had us being sued like 50+ times.

    • David Caldwell

      Literally the opposite of what I said. I said they ought to be able to run, that letting them run was the correct decision.


    Wow to wife shame an individual, that’s classic especially since this person hasn’t even commented on this article.

    Blaming Democrats. That’s rich. I’m not in the mood to give a history lesson, way too much for this forum.

    So I’ll just suggest one book. If you are like I a baby boomer and providing you read the suggested book you should know of most everything Kurt Andersen in his book “Evil Genesis – The Unmaking of America” writes about. So before you get further entrenched in your own opinion do yourself (and us) a favor. Go on Amazon or better yet go to the library and get and most importantly read this book.

    As Churchill once stated: “The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter.”

    • Marge

      Mr. Riccio please grow up. How is pointing out David Caldwell is Rep Caldwell’s husband wife shaming, It’s a fact!

      RI has been controlled by D’s for as long as I have lived here (80+ years). You might get a Republican Gov but the control is in the House & Senate in RI ALL controlled by, yes, Democrats for many, many years!….and what great shape RI is in? Right?

      Who should I blame? Those in control or maybe voters who keep voting in these self-serving charlatans.
      As to your suggestion for reading, I’ll pass! I criticize both parties and are not fond of any politicians! My comment was about one side rule. Please reread!

      As to your Winston Churchill comment, we are NOT a Democracy! We are a Constitutional Republic! Federalism! Maybe you should do some reading!

      What makes this country great is you have your opinion and I have mine. Facts substantiate mine.

  4. Riccio

    Sorry folks the book is “Evil Geniuses – The Unmaking of America.

    • Marge

      Sorry folks, R.I. doomed!

  5. Riccio


    It may just do you good to read it.

    Yes, as Moynihan pointed out, we can have our own opinions just not our own facts.

    Democracy (representative democracy) is generic. Webster (that’s Daniel not the dictionary), Jefferson, Adams, Chief Justice Marshall and others used it.

  6. Alan Clarke

    The irony is overwhelming me. This town has always been two-party but not much identified with the state and national parties. Whichever party ruled EG’s Town Council, the emphasis was always on town needs, not the larger affiliation. Now, apparently, the National Vinegar has drooled down into local politics. Great, we can all hate each other personally and locally as we can on a state and national level.

    • Riccio

      Elizabeth you’re correct. I humbly apologize to you, your staff, the subscribers and the EG News Readers.
      Ray Riccio

    • Marge

      Alan I am just pointing out that “one party rule” is not good for any Gov’t, be it Federal, State, or local. I believe all politics is local. All I am doing is stating facts which are inconveneient to some and some may call it vinegar.

      If you beleive that reading about Coaches grooming children in our school systems, uncontrolled building and expansion of housing in EG, building of new schools that destroy abutter’s homes who have to sue and receive no compensation while the politicians are silent, the total changing of the ole EG landscape, just read the Police blotter every week on EG News (I could go on & on here)……then keep voting for the same politicians. They are all talk… about honesty, integrity and openness! Really!

      Politicians have forgotten they work for the citizens, all citizens, We the People, not their own special interest or friends. It is sad!

      Sometimes the truth hurts……Just saying from an old EG native.

      Just my 1st Amendment opinion…… and I haven’t insulted anyone in my comments.


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