Speaker sur­vives bless­ing in home dis­trict

Woonsocket Call - - REGION/OBITUARIES -

CRANSTON (AP) — Demo­cratic House Speaker Ni­cholas Mat­tiello was nar­rowly re-elected in his dis­trict Tues­day af­ter an or­ga­nized ef­fort to oust him.

Cranston vot­ers re­turned Mat­tiello to the House on Tues­day over Repub­li­can Steven Frias. The state elec­tions board added par­tial mail bal­lot re­sults to their count late Tues­day, putting Mat­tiello ahead by more than 300 votes.

It was a re­match from 2016, when Frias lost by 85 votes.

Mat­tiello, one of Rhode Is­land’s most pow­er­ful politi­cians, cam­paigned on his suc­cesses as speaker, in­clud­ing phas­ing out the car tax.

The Rhode Is­land chap­ter of the Na­tional Or­ga­ni­za­tion for Women and the Rhode Is­land Coali­tion Against Gun Vi­o­lence had en­cour­aged Cranston res­i­dents to vote him out. The tra­di­tion­ally Demo­crat-aligned groups wanted Mat­tiello to ad­dress women’s rights and ex­tend the time limit for fil­ing child abuse law­suits, among other is­sues.

Mat­tiello has also re­cently faced crit­i­cism over how he has han­dled sex­ual ha­rass­ment claims at the state house.

Mat­tiello, who was first elected in 2006, said his new op­po­nents were “ex­treme pro­gres­sive groups.”

Tri­cia Hay­den was among a num­ber of Cranston res­i­dents who cast a vote for Mat­tiello but also sig­naled dis­plea­sure with the state’s other Demo­cratic lead­ers by vot­ing for Repub­li­can Cranston Mayor Al­lan Fung for gov­er­nor.

Hay­den said she voted for Mat­tiello be­cause of his prom­ise to re­peal the car tax.

“That’s a big thing that I sup­port,” she said, adding, “He’s also our neigh­bor and our friend. He’s do­ing a great job.”

Con­ced­ing de­feat, Frias said: “I’m sorry I let you all down. I re­ally did try my best. I gave vot­ers a choice, and they chose the sta­tus quo.”

Mat­tiello had said he plans to hold a cau­cus of House Democrats on Thurs­day night to vote for speaker. Sev­eral Demo­cratic law­mak­ers have said they would not back him for speaker again.

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