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Early voters power Democrats to big leads in Portsmouth

Dems seemingly take R.I. House Districts 69, 70, 71 and 72

Posted 11/4/20

PORTSMOUTH — It was a tale of two Election Nights.

The first one had local Republicans ahead in races for four seats on the R.I. House of Representatives. 

But after the …

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Early voters power Democrats to big leads in Portsmouth

Dems seemingly take R.I. House Districts 69, 70, 71 and 72

Posted

PORTSMOUTH — It was a tale of two Election Nights.

The first one had local Republicans ahead in races for four seats on the R.I. House of Representatives. 

But after the emergency (early, in-person) votes and then mail ballots were counted, the results got flipped in all four contests. 

In District 69, incumbent Susan R. Donovan was ahead of her Republican opponent, Ann Costa, 3,334 to 2,397, gathering 58 percent of the vote.

Her apparent victory wasn’t ensured until 1,404 mail ballots went in her favor. Those numbers were posted by the R.I. Board of Elections shortly after 1 a.m. Wednesday.

It was a familiar tale in the other House races, where Democrats had strong turnout in early voting. Nothing is official, however, as ballots placed in drop boxes at polling places throughout the state will be collected later on Wednesday and aren’t expected to be posted until Thursday.

Democrat Terri Cortvriend seemingly held on to her District 72 seat after besting Republican Kenneth Mendonca in a rematch of 2018, 4,444 to 3310 votes. Mr. Mendonca, who previously held the seat, was on top for most of the night until Rep. Cortvriend pulled ahead after collecting an additional 2,000-plus mail ballots to her opponent’s 692. 

In District 71, political newcomer Michelle McGaw, a Democrat, was the apparent winner as she bested her Republican opponent, Amy Veri, 4,456 votes to 3,077. The seat is being vacated as Rep. Dennis Canario (D) chose not to seek reelection.  (Note: Ms. McGaw is the wife of Jim McGaw, editor of The Portsmouth Times.)

Ms. Veri had more votes cast in her favor at polling places on Tuesday — 1,317 to Ms. McGaw’s 926 — but she fell well behind when 1,642 emergency ballots and 1,888 mail ballots went to her opponent. Ms. Veri collected 1,240 emergency ballots and 520 mail ballots.

In District 70, Rep. John G. Edwards, benefiting from nearly 3,500 early votes — 1,990 mail ballots and 1,502 emergency ballots — defeated his Republican challenger, Christopher Borden, 4,434 to 2,743.

Town Council race

In the race for Town Council, eight candidates — including six Democratic incumbents — ran for seven available seats. Michael Buddemeyer, a former council member and one of the Democrats, was the top vote-getter with 5,750. 

As of early Wednesday morning, Leonard Katzman was trailing J. Mark Ryan for the seventh and last available seat by 110 votes. Both are incumbents and Democrats. 

The lone Republican running for council, Keith Hamilton, appears to have retained his seat. Mr. Hamilton was the third-highest vote-getter.

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Meet our staff
Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.