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Brien tops City Council primary ballot

October 9, 2013

WOONSOCKET — Even though last night’s City Council primary ended up being inconsequential - no one was eliminated from the race - it did show what place the 14 remaining candidates came in and how many votes they received, which could be a barometer of how well their campaigns have been going and how they may ultimately fare in the Nov. 5 election.

The City Council candidates with the seven highest vote tallies last night included five incumbents and two challengers.

Last night’s primary was not a factor in the City Council race after one of the candidates vying for election to the seven-member panel, Jeffrey P. Belknap, withdrew last week. While Belknap’s withdrawal did not remove his name from the list of 15 candidates for City Council on Tuesday’s ballot, it did eliminate him from moving forward to the Nov. 5 city election ballot.

That means none of the 14 remaining candidates - incumbent City Councilors John F. Ward, Daniel M. Gendron, Christopher A. Beauchamp, Albert G. Brien, Marc A. Dubois, Roger G. Jalette Sr. and Robert R. Moreau, and challengers Eric R. Cartier, Garrett S. Mancieri, Richard J. Fagnant, Melissa A. Murray, Kathryn M. Dumais, Anita A. McGuire-Forcier and Christopher M. Roberts – were eliminated last night, and they will all appear on the November ballot to battle it out for the seven available council seats up for grabs.

The top seven highest vote-getters last night were Brien, 1,863; Moreau, 1,812; Beauchamp, 1,808; Gendron, 1,496; Roberts, 1,495; Jalette, 1,481; and McGuire-Forcier, 1,435.

Only seven votes separated McGuire-Forcier and eighth-place finisher, Mancieri, who garnered 1,428 votes.

“Right in the middle of the pack is where I expected to be,” Mancieri, 28, a lifelong Woonsocket resident and current member of the Tax Board of Assessment, said last night. “I plan to go out and work all that much harder. I’m going to go out and talk with the people as I have been doing and hopefully I’ll be able to pick up a few more votes in November.”

Mancieri says the hundreds of voters he’s talked to so far during his campaign have made one thing clear - they want change.

“People are not happy with the direction the city is going in,” he said. “As the mayor’s race showed us tonight, people clearly want change.”

Ninth place went to Ward, who received 1,386 votes last night, followed by tenth-place finisher Dubois with 1,361 votes. Murray came in eleventh with 1,357 votes; Cartier twelfth with 1,315 votes; and Dumas earned 1,241 votes for 13th place.

Fagnant came in 14th place with 1,206 votes, followed by Belknap, who even though he withdrew, picked up 450 votes.

Gendron told WNRI that while he was satisfied with with his fourth-place primary finish, he plans to work even harder over the next few weeks leading up to the Nov. 5 election.

“I know I have a lot of work ahead of me and I’m not planning to rest easy with fourth place,” he said.

In response to mayoral candidate state Rep. Lisa Baldelli-Hunt’s (D-Dist. 49) taking the lion’s share of the votes over incumbent Mayor Leo Fontaine - 2,638 to 826 - Gendron said, “I was expecting to see the mayor react very somberly, but instead, what I saw was a mayor energized and motivated to continue his campaign over the next few weeks.”

Baldelli-Hunt and Fontaine will face off in the final election Nov. 5 for a three-year term.

Last night’s highest vote getter, Brien, told WNRI that while primary finishes can change in November, historically those changes are not significant, although a candidate in ninth or 10th place in a primary could easily jump to sixth or seventh place in the general election.

“I can say that I’m disappointed my friend and colleague Marc Dubois did not poll better than he did and I’m really hoping he does better in November,” he said.

A total of 3,798 voters went to the polls Tuesday, according to the city Board of Canvassers.

(Follow Joseph Fitzgerald on Twitter @jofitz7)

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