Cunha upsets incumbent Rogers in East Providence City Council race

Helder Cunha pumps his fist in the air after the results of his victory over Ward 2 City Council incumbent Bruce Rogers were announced Tuesday night, Nov. 6. Helder Cunha pumps his fist in the air after the results of his victory over Ward 2 City Council incumbent Bruce Rogers were announced Tuesday night, Nov. 6.

EAST PROVIDENCE — On a night when most of the supposed favorites won their respective races in city, upstart Helder Cunha pulled off the most surprising result of the evening as he easily defeated incumbent and City Council President Bruce Rogers in the Ward 2 election.

Helder Cunha pumps his fist in the air after the results of his victory over Ward 2 City Council incumbent Bruce Rogers were announced Tuesday night, Nov. 6.

Per the official results from the Secretary of State’s website, Mr. Cunha beat Mr. Rogers by 315 votes (1,726-1,411) to earn his spot on the Council where he’ll be joined by two other newcomers who won Nov. 6 — James Briden and Tracy Capobianco — along with the other incumbent up for re-election — Thomas Rose. Chrissy Rossi is the fifth Council member. Also a newcomer to the body, Mrs. Rossi ran unopposed in Ward 4.

“It’s exhilarating,” Mr. Cunha said after the results were announced at his headquarters in Phillips Street Hall. “It’s the realization of a lot of hard work that really paid off.”

Mr. Cunha won the race by carrying the two largest precincts in the Ward; City Hall, 681-440, and Hennesssey School, 706-582. Mr. Rogers won Whiteknact School, 334-313, and East Providence High School, 55-26. Mr. Cunha had finished second to Mr. Rogers by some 300 votes in the four-way primary back on Sept. 11.

“I learned from September where I stood in the city and that I had a lot of work to do, that I had to work much harder,” Mr. Cunha added. “It was about getting perspective. I went out and stated my position on the issues and I listened to people. To be honest, I did more listening than talking when I went door-to-door. People were fed up with what was going on. It was time for a change, but more importantly it’s time for results.”

Of the three other contested races, Mr. Briden had the closest race opposite long-time city pol Edward Lynch, winning by about 350 votes.

“I want to congratulate Mr. Lynch for running a very good campaign. He worked hard and he had great results,” Mr. Briden said. “I’m very appreciative of the people who voted for me and helped me get elected. I’m very pleased with the results.”

Mr. Rose defeated Candace Seel by some 450 votes in Ward 3. Mrs. Capobianco had the largest margin of victory on the evening, winning by more than a 2-to-1 margin over former School Committee member Steven Santos for the At-Large seat.

“The majority of the people are still happy with me,” said Mr. Rose. “I’m going to continue to work hard for the people of Ward 3 and all of the people in the city.”

In the School Committee races Tuesday, another first-time candidate, Anthony Ferreira, handily defeated the only incumbent running, Stephen Furtado, in Ward 2. Newcomers Joel Monteiro (At-Large) and Elizabeth Clupny (Ward 1) also won with relative ease over Ronald Warr and Betty DeCrescenzo, respectively. Tim Conley, in Ward 4, and Richard Pimentel, in Ward 3, ran unopposed.

The races for state offices from the city were rather one-sided. Democrat Gregg Amore defeated Moderate Joe Botelho for the House of Representatives District 65 seat by some 1,600 votes. In the House District 65 race, 22-year-old newbie Democrat Katherine Kazarian had little difficulty getting the better of Independent David Sullivan. And in the cross-over (Barrington/East Providence) House 66 race, Democratic incumbent Joy Hearn defeated Republican Manfred Diel and Independent Eugene Saveory.

“I’m pleased with the results, obviously,” Mr. Amore said. “I want to thank all of the people who have supported me. I look forward to working with what appears to be an outstanding East Providence delegation.

“I want to thank Joe for being a gentlemen during the campaign. We worked very hard. When you get through a very close primary race against two very good candidates (Tim Chapman and Jim Miller), it helps you in the next election.”

Mr. Amore, Ms. Kazarian and Mrs. Hearn join District 64 incumbent Democrat and House Finance Committee Chairman Helio Melo on Smith Hill. Mr. Melo ran unopposed this cycle.

“I am overwhelmed,” said Ms. Kazarian. “I’m very humbled. I’m going to cherish the opportunity to represent the neighborhood that I grew up in. I’m so excited. I just want to do justice to the people of the district.”

East Providence voters also cast their ballots on four proposed City Charter amendments, approving each. Changing the fiscal year to match that of the state (July to June), creating a “Rainy Day Fund”, allowing all top-level administrators including the City Manager to reside outside of East Providence and changing terms of city’s elected officials from two to four-year terms each passed by significant margins.

Of note as well locally, all three of the State Senate seats were decided prior to Tuesday. Democratic incumbent Daniel DaPonte (District 14), Democrat Billy Conley (District 18) and Republican incumbent David Bates (District 32) each ran unopposed in the General Election.

For a complete list of results from East Providence click here

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