Misfiling nearly cost Charette another run at Sen. Pearson

Misfiling nearly cost Charette another run at Sen. Pearson

Most Cumberland council seats see challengers; few run for fire board

CUMBERLAND – Republican Bill “BJ” Charette said his near-miss at an election rematch with incumbent Cumberland District 19 Sen. Ryan Pearson was a “lesson learned.” He told The Breeze he won’t wait until the last minute to file his candidacy paperwork in the future.

Charette checked the wrong box when filing his declaration papers to run for office, selecting “Town Committee” instead of “Senate.”

But Brandon Bell, chairman of the Rhode Island Republican Party who declared his own run against Cumberland House District 52 Rep. Alex Marszalkowski last week, used the authority granted to him under election law to nominate Charette for the race just under the wire for doing so.

“Mr. Charette has accepted this nomination and was eligible to declare for the nomination during the regular declaration period, and as you are aware, he was present yesterday and mistakenly filed for Senate District Committee,” wrote Bell to the Cumberland Board of Canvassers last Thursday, June 28.

The Cumberland GOP now has two recognizable names in local General Assembly races in Charette, who took nearly 45 percent of the vote against Pearson in 2016, and Bell, who has been a vocal Republican on the statewide and national stage.

Both races are likely to become contentious, particularly the Senate 19 campaign, after the controversy of 2016 when a campaign mailer calling Charette “an empty suit” and accusing him of not paying any business taxes was sent out without the approval of the Democratic Town Committee.

Another Republican, Michael Veri, filed declaration papers to challenge Democrat Roger Picard in Senate District 20.

Moderate Rufus Bailey Jr. declared for the House 51 seat held by incumbent Democrat Robert Phillips. Rep. Mia Ackerman, of House 45, and Rep. James McLaughlin, of House 57, are running unopposed.

Incumbents on the Cumberland Town Council will see plenty of challenges if all candidates return nomination papers this month as required to qualify.

In the at-large race, incumbent Council President Peter Bradley faces a primary challenge from fellow Democrats Michael Kinch and Mutter ally Roland Gauvin. Kinch has support from Mayor Bill Murray. Waiting for the top two finishers in the primary will be independents William Dennen, an at-large school board member looking to make the switch, and departing fire board member and former Councilor James Scullin. The top two finishers will earn the available seats.

Incumbent Democratic at-large Councilor Tom Kane, a critic of the mayor and the chairman of the Cumberland Democratic Town Committee, declined to run again, saying he thinks he needs “a little time off,” but saying he’ll likely “come back” in the future.

In District 1, incumbent independent James Metivier is facing a challenge from Democrat Stephanie Gemski and independent Adam Samir Khoury, meaning a three-way general election and no primary if all three return papers.

In District 2, incumbent Democrat E. Craig Dwyer would face Democrat Paul Simoes in a primary, with the winner taking on independent Earl Wood in the general election if all submit required signatures.

District 3 incumbent Lisa Beaulieu faces a Democratic primary challenge from Timothy McCann, another supporter of Murray’s.

Republican Scott Schmitt, in District 4, and Democrat Robert Shaw Jr., in District 5, are both running unopposed.

Joining Dennen in departing the school board is District 4 member Amy Goggin, who will not be running for office in 2018. Heidi Waters and David Francazio both pulled papers to run for that seat, which is the only contested one on the committee.

Member Paul DiModica is set to run for Dennen’s at-large seat, while Chairman Raymond Salvatore will also run for re-election as an at-large candidate. There are no other candidates for the two seats. Mark Fiorillo, in District 1, Karen Freedman, in District 2, and Stephen Hess, in District 5, will all run without opposition, and Jennifer Bernardo submitted papers to run alone for DiModica’s District 3 seat.

Hess and Salvatore switched committee seats this year after Salvatore moved to a home outside of District 5.

Other than the two at-large seats on the Cumberland Fire Committee, which are drawing interest from four candidates, candidates for all five district seats are running without opposition.

In the at-large race, incumbents Dana Jones and Paul Santoro are joined by Charles Wilk and Bruce Lemois, former chairman of the committee.

For the district seats, Richard Hayden filed papers to run in District 1, Timothy Hogan in District 2, current Chairwoman Cynthia Ouellette in District 3, Phillip Koutsogiane in District 4, and newly appointed member Vincent Picone in District 5.


I've voted for Democrats for the last 40 years, but I will be voting for Charette this time around due to the false attacks perpetrated by the Town's Democratic Party last election. Good luck!