Three candidates from two political parties stood outside Nayatt School in Barrington on Tuesday afternoon braving the chilly temperatures while holding campaign signs. For one candidate — Republican Patrick Guida — one comment a voter shared with him turned out to be colder than the weather.
Mr. Guida, who went on to garner the most votes among Barrington School Committee candidates, said a voter approached him and Democrats Bob Shea (school committee) and Ann Strong (town council) and said that it was his or her intention to “vote straight party” because that had been the practice for every election. Mr. Guida would not specify who the person was or which party he or she was going to vote for.
“I felt very deflated, because I’ve always respected Barrington voters for being responsible and going to the polls and choosing individuals,” Mr. Guida said.
“I think it goes back to if anyone walked into the polling place relying upon the national platform label of one or another party and they voted based upon their understanding of the national platform for that party they would not have demonstrated the necessary level of due diligence to determine what’s in the best interest of the community… and I say that from the perspective of both parties.”
Mr. Guida said the experience left him feeling troubled. “I think their (Bob Shea’s and Ann Strong’s) reaction was similar to mine. I just shook my head,” he said.
Mr. Guida said he has also encountered straight party voters while knocking on doors in town during his campaign work.
“The fact that Rhode Island still has a master lever is a disgrace,” Mr. Guida said.
Mr. Shea, Ms. Strong and Mr. Guida all won seats during the recent elections.