WPRI.com Primary Night 2012 Live Blog – Congress, legislatureSeptember 11th, 2012 at 6:48 pm by Ted Nesi under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site
WPRI.com’s Ted Nesi live-blogged results from Tuesday’s election.
Here’s a recap. Type ctrl+F to search.
- 1st Congressional District (D): David Cicilline wins
- 2nd Congressional District (D): Jim Langevin wins
- 2nd Congressional District (R): Michael Riley wins
10:13 p.m. | Turnout statewide was roughly 73,000, about what our political analyst Joe Fleming expected. I’m going to be shutting down the live blog now – stick with WPRI 12 (and Fox Providence) for live TV coverage tonight, WPRI.com for more results and information, and Nesi’s Notes for in-depth political coverage all year around. Thanks for joining us!
9:58 p.m. | Most of our analysis is moving to TV for now. Tune in at 10 p.m. on Fox Providence and 11 on WPRI 12.
9:38 p.m. | With all the results in, Tobon defeats San Bento; DaPonte defeats DaSilva; Ehrhardt defeats Gamba (after absentee ballots). Goldin wins by 118 votes over Butke. Sen. Michael Pinga is the only incumbent senator defeated tonight.
And don’t forget – these are primaries. All but 30 of the General Assembly’s 113 districts will be contested in November. It will take some time to sort through the results and read the tea leaves on who’s in trouble less than two months from now.
One question I have: What the heck happened to Rep. Jon Brien?
9:30 p.m. | A quick rundown of expected General Assembly winners you might want to know about: Hull, Lombardi, Almeida, Palumbo, Handy, Dickinson, Restivo, Costantino, Ackerman, Casey, MacBeth, Kazarian, Marshall, Abney, Giarrusso, Johnson, Maher, Jabour, Satchell, Crowley, Pearson, Cote, Lombardo, Lombardi, McCaffrey, Raptakis.
9:27 p.m. | Interesting wrinkle in the 1st Congressional District: more than 3,000 votes were cast for perennial candidate Christopher Young, giving him 8% of the vote. Hard not to read that as an anybody-but-Cicilline-or-Gemma protest vote.
9:26 p.m. | Mail ballots are now in, according to the Board of Elections.
9:24 p.m. | In House District 34 (Tanzi), Republican Christopher Wilkens is ahead of Stephen Tetzner with 3 of 4 precincts reporting – that would be an upset if Wilkins beats Tetzner, who may have been the strongest candidate against Rep. Teresa Tanzi.
9:20 p.m. | A joyous David Cicilline campaign has issued a statement ballyhooing his “overwhelming win” in the Democratic primary and immediately casting this as an extension of the presidential race. “Rhode Island cannot afford another vote for the extreme Republican majority, and that is exactly what Brendan Doherty will be,” campaign manager Eric Hyers says.
9:14 p.m. | DaPonte-DaSilva is the most dramatic race of the night so far, with a machine apparently malfunctioning and a 30-vote margin between them with over 200 mail-in ballots to be counted. Also going to mail ballots is the Republican race between Ehrhardt and Gamba. Also keeping an eye on San Bento-Tobon in Pawtucket.
9:05 p.m. | Stephen Casey defeats veteran Woonsocket Rep. Jon Brien, one of the most conservative Democrats in the General Assembly, in House District 50 – a surprise. And in North Kingstown, Sharon Gamba may win a very close Republican House primary – the only one – and defeat Republican Rep. Larry Ehrhardt in House District 32.
9:02 p.m. | Joe Fleming points out Providence’s results haven’t even come in yet, which could boost Cicilline’s margin of victory even higher. As I mentioned in the 7:59 p.m. update (see below), Democrats and Republicans are already sparring as they prepare for the general election to really kick off Wednesday morning.
8:59 p.m. | In the East Bay, which had a rough legislative primary last time, Kenneth Marshall won handily over John Hanley in House District 68. Also a sigh of relief in House Speaker Gordon Fox’s office as Marvin Abney defeats former Senate Majority Leader David Carlin in House District 73.
8:58 p.m. | We’re up to 63% of precincts reporting in the 1st Congressional District, and Democratic Congressman David Cicilline is winning a decisive victory – no small margin here. He has 61% of the vote (17,544 votes) to just 31% for Anthony Gemma (9,121) and 8% for Christopher Young (2,301).
8:54 p.m. | Gregory Costantino has defeated Rep. Peter Petrarca in the House 44 Democratic primary, WPRI 12 projects.
8:53 p.m. | Congressman David Cicilline has defeated Democratic primary opponent Anthony Gemma, WPRI 12 projects.
8:52 p.m. | Michael Riley has won the Republican nomination in the 2nd Congressional District, WPRI 12 projects. He’ll face Democratic Congressman Jim Langevin.
8:46 p.m. | A bit more than one-third of the vote counted in the 1st Congressional District, and David Cicilline has a huge lead. He’s winning 63% of the vote to just 29% for Anthony Gemma and 8% for Chris Young. In the 2nd Congressional District, Republican Michael Riley is winning 64% of the vote in a four-way field with half of the votes counted.
8:45 p.m. | Congressman Jim Langevin has defeated his Democratic primary opponent John Matson, WPRI 12 projects.
8:44 p.m. | The DaPonte-DaSilva Senate race in East Providence race is too close to call. Also Francis Maher, the only Republican state senator with a primary challenger, wins easily.
8:40 p.m. | No big surprise – Sen. Elizabeth Crowley reportedly keeps her seat in Central Falls.
8:36 p.m. | Rhode Island Democratic Party spokesman Bill Fischer tells our Tim White that Republican Brendan Doherty has benefited from the primary and hasn’t had to discuss his policies on issues such as Social Security, adding: “That free ride is going to end and it’s going to end tonight.” Fischer also says the issue of Providence’s finances has “been beaten to death.” Will voters agree?
8:33 p.m. | Results still being tabulated. More to come. I’m going to try to stick to posting close races and upsets – as well as the congressional race results – here on the live blog.
8:26 p.m. | Joe Fleming and I don’t want to get ahead of ourselves, but we’re seeing a number of interesting legislative races – some where the underdog looks to have pulled out a win, and some top-tier recruits going down. There are reports that winners include Joe Almeida, Michael McCaffrey, Spencer Dickinson, Adam Satchell, Marvin Abney, John Lombardi, Lou Raptakis and Ryan Pearson; somewhat surprisingly, Jon Brien looks to be in trouble in Woonsocket. Consider all those unconfirmed for now. Only 3% of precincts reporting so far in 1st Congressional District.
8:21 p.m. | Democrat Mia Ackerman has defeated incumbent Rep. Rene Menard in House District 45, WPRI 12 projects.
8:13 p.m. | The first numbers are starting to trickle in – Democrat Mia Ackerman won the Albion Youth Center precinct in Lincoln, a bad sign for incumbent Rep. Rene Menard, political analyst Joe Fleming reports after receiving a phone call. She’s also reportedly won Cumberland High School. Ackerman is seen as one of the strongest primary challengers in the state.
8:09 p.m. | Among those who were out campaigning on Tuesday were the state’s most popular politicians, both Democrats: Providence Mayor Angel Taveras and Treasurer Gina Raimondo. Taveras was out in Providence for legislative candidates Gayle Goldin, Joe Almeida and Libby Kimzey. Raimondo was backing Michael McCaffrey, Chris Blazejewski, Carlos Tobon, Daniel DaPonte and Mia Ackerman.
8:00 p.m. | Polls are closed! Results to come soon. Stay tuned. Joe Fleming is here with me to call the races, and we’re live on TV with coverage, as well.
7:59 p.m. | Is David Cicilline already ahead of Brendan Doherty? His party thinks so.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) tells WPRI.com it conducted an automated telephone survey in the 1st Congressional District on Monday and found a big shift in the race. The polls shows Cicilline winning 49% and Doherty winning 43% among 578 likely voters.
That would be imply a huge shift in the race in Cicilline’s favor since the February WPRI 12 poll, which showed Doherty at 49% and Cicilline at just 34%. Democrats say the striking results show the effectiveness of Cicilline’s television ads in recent weeks and the strong Democratic lean of the district, which gave Obama two-thirds of the vote in 2008.
Republicans scoffed at the Democrats’ findings. “You know David Cicilline is desperate and in trouble when he has to get national Democrats to pump out a questionable poll the day after his primary to prove his viability as a candidate,” Nathaniel Sillin, a National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman, told WPRI.com.
Ian Prior, Doherty’s campaign manager, said he wouldn’t be surprised if the race is closer than it was in February, but he dismissed the idea that Cicilline has pulled out a 6-point lead.
7:47 p.m. | Apparently that prediction was actually too high. The secretary of state’s office says statewide turnout could be below 10% if it’s anything like the 2008 race. We’ll find out soon enough. We should start getting results soon after 8 p.m.
7:15 p.m. | “It all comes down to turnout.” There’s a reason that phrase has become a cliché – it’s true, especially in low-turnout races like today’s primary. Secretary of State Ralph Mollis’s office said earlier he expects just 10% to 12% of registered voters will go to the polls in Rhode Island today.
Of course, turnout statewide doesn’t say anything about turnout in individual state legislative districts, where there are a number of hard-fought primaries on the ballot today. Turnout appears to be stronger in places with major contests like Providence’s East Side, Warwick and South County. By contrast, just 81 voters had reportedly gone to the polls at Burrillville Middle School as of 6:45 p.m.
Still, even those districts aren’t going to see presidential-level turnout. That’s why campaigns spent all day Tuesday knocking on doors and making phone calls to get their supporters to actually go and cast a ballot. If past years are any indication, some of these races will be decided by just a few dozen votes (or even fewer). Results should start coming in around 8:20 p.m.
6:48 p.m. | Welcome to WPRI.com’s live blog for Primary Election 2012!
This is the place for breaking news updates, reports from my WPRI 12 colleagues stationed with the candidates across Rhode Island, trivia and analysis about the races on the ballot today – and then live results starting at 8 p.m. when the polls close. That’s when the number of updates will pick up. (Click refresh.)
WPRI 12 political analyst Joe Fleming is with me to call races as results arrive, and I’ll post those here. We’ll have live TV updates on WPRI 12 throughout the evening, with full coverage at 10 on Fox Providence and 11 on WPRI 12. To get up to speed on the General Assembly primaries, read my rundown of the 23 top races.
The biggest race is the Democratic primary between Congressman David Cicilline and Anthony Gemma. Our WPRI 12 poll in late April showed Cicilline pulling away from Gemma, giving the incumbent a 12-point lead. If Cicilline wins, political observers will be looking closely at the size of his margin of victory – and how many votes Chris Young gets. Republican Brendan Doherty is waiting in the wings to kick off the general election campaign Wednesday.
The pace of updating here will speed up as the night goes on – stay tuned!