By JOHN HOWELL
“People were saying to me ‘you’re working too hard.’ There’s no such thing in politics,” Speaker of the House K. Joseph Shekarchi said with a …
“People were saying to me ‘you’re working too hard.’ There’s no such thing in politics,” Speaker of the House K. Joseph Shekarchi said with a wide smile Tuesday night at his victory party at the Leomongrass Restaurant.
Shekarchi easily won the primary contest for House District 23, beating Political Cooperative supported Jacqueline Anderson. Shekarchi took almost 70 percent of the vote. Shekarchi walked the entire district and was starting a second lap. He advertised extensively, had signs throughout the neighborhoods and hosted events. He now faces Dana James Traversie in the November General Election.
But while Shekrachi’s primary victory didn’t come as a surprise, it was a relief to many of the Democratic establishment who were keeping an eye on the Political Co-op that had targeted House and Senate races in the city. On that front there were some surprises. Co-op co-founder and Senate Dist. 30 incumbent Jeanine Calkin lost to attorney Mark McKenney. McKenney, who lost to her two years ago, worked the district hard. He had Shekarchi’s endorsement and the two campaigned door-to-door on occasion. McKenney won 53 percent of the vote.
In Senate District 29 where incumbent Senate Majority Leader Michael McCaffrey chose not to seek reelection, Co-op co-founder Jennifer Rourke edged out Warwick firefighter and president of the firefighters’ union Michael Carreiro. Rourke took 54.1 percent of the vote. In the Republican Senate District 29 primary Anthony DeLuca II beat Christopher Barker winning more than 66 percent of the vote. Another close race was in House District 21 where incumbent Camille Vella-Wilkinson held on in an exchange of campaign mailers with Capri Catanzaro. Catanzaro had the support of the Co-op. Vella-Wilkinson garnered 854 votes for 52.5 percent of the vote.
With none of the incumbents seeking reelection, all three district non partisan seats on the School Committee will have fresh faces following the November election. District 3 comprised of Ward 7, 8 and 9 has two declared candidates, Charles Donovan Jr. and Michele Chapman, meaning there was no primary there. On the other hand, District 1 had four candidates, Shaun Galligan, Frank Allan Brown, Tara Levasseur and William Okerholm. Galligan garnered 39.8 percent percent of the vote followed by Brown with 27.7 percent, which puts them in a run off in November. In District 2 Leah Ann Hazelwood tallied 65 percent of the vote, followed by Steven DiPalma with 21.9 percent and Christopher Daigneault with 13.1 percent. Hazelwood and DiPalma will be on the November ballot.
In the only City Council primary contest, incumbent William Foley fended off a challenge from Barry Cook. Foley took 74.5 percent of the vote.
Voters in Senate District 31 were faced with Republican and Democratic primaries. Lisa Marie Morse easily beat John Silvaggio garnering more than 79 percent of the vote in the Republican primary. On the Democratic side, Matthew LaMountain picked up 67 percent of the vote to beat Harrison Tuttle who was supported by the Co-op.
Shekarchi agreed the Co-op picked Warwick as a battleground to upend the leadership in large part because he has named all of Warwick’s representatives to chair House committees. Asked to assess the effectiveness of Co-op campaigns he remarked on their ability to rally support around candidates, but felt they had over extended themselves. He was surprised by Anastasia Williams loss in Providence District 9 to Co-op backed Enrique George Sanchez.
Rep. Teresa Ann Tanzi of Narragansett who came to congratulate Shekarchi called him a trusted and stable leader. “He does the job, he shows up and he has unified us,” he said.
In other House races, incumbent Joseph McNamara with nearly 70 percent of the vote beat challenger Stuart Wilson in District 19 and incumbent Joseph Solomon Jr. with more than 67 percent of the vote beat Zakary Pereira in District 22.
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