WOONSOCKET – Flanked by supporters, State Rep. Jon D. Brien (D-Dist. 50, Woonsocket) announced Thursday that he’s launched a write-in campaign for re-election after losing the Democratic primary to firefighter Stephen M. Casey by 52 votes.
Perhaps the most conservative Democrat in the House, Brien said he lost because some voters wound up at the wrong polling places and also because he was targeted by pro-labor interests who supported Casey.
“This is our chance to get it right,” Brien said.
Brien made the announcement in the parking lot of Pepin Lumber, drawing applause from about 30 supporters. A surprisingly large number of reporters who cover politics for a statewide audience also covered the event.
Brien lost to Casey, 722-670, on primary day in what was nothing less than a stunning and unexpected political upset. The incumbent since 2006, Brien is the scion of a homegrown political dynasty whose father, sitting Councilman Albert G. Brien, is a former lawmaker and city finance director. Jon’s wife, Stella Brien, is also a former councilwoman. By contrast, Casey moved here from Melrose, Mass., 12 years ago and has worked for the fire department less than seven years.