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Three qualify for ballot to contest Dist. 49 seat

December 24, 2013

WOONSOCKET – Three of the four candidates who filed papers to run for the vacant House District 49 seat secured a spot on the ballot Tuesday.
Estelle Corriveau, manager of the Board of Canvassers, said Michael A. Morin, Mark L. Chenot and Douglas T. Brown had filed the requisite number of valid voter signatures to run in the Democratic primary, Jan. 21.

Dr. Stuart Gitlow, a former two-time contender for the House District 49 seat, apparently fell one signature short of the 50 required.
Gitlow had dropped off some signatures to the board earlier in the nomination period, but only 49 were deemed valid. That’s one short of the minimum required to get on the ballot.

Corriveau said she left a message advising Gitlow of the shortfall on his cell phone Monday, but she had not heard from him as of 4 p.m. yesterday when the nomination deadline lapsed.

The Democratic primary was scheduled earlier this month, after former State Rep. Lisa Baldelli-Hunt defeated former Mayor Leo T. Fontaine in the citywide election on Nov. 8. Mayor Baldelli-Hunt resigned mid-way through her fourth term as the District 49 representative in the House after winning the chief executive’s spot.

Though an election has been scheduled for Feb. 25, the primary will almost certainly settle the race, in which all the contestants are Democrats.

The Rhode Island Democratic Party, Mayor Baldelli-Hunt and House Speaker Gordon Fox have all endorsed Morin, a captain on the Woonsocket Fire Department who also serves as president of the local firefighters union.

Morin, 48, ran unsuccessfully against Baldelli-Hunt for the District 49 seat in November 2012, but he and the mayor say they’ve settled their differences and have agreed to work as a team for the common interests of the city.

Because he’s endorsed by the state party, Morin’s name will appear at the top of the ballot. Secretary of State Ralph Mollis will hold a lottery on Friday to determine the order in which the names of the other candidates’ will appear on the ballot, in accordance with elections law.

Follow Russ Olivo on Twitter @russolivo

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