Paolino, Lyle win General Assembly races

Paolino, Lyle win General Assembly races

With close to an hour left at the polls, Sen. Thomas Paolino and his girlfriend Cara Bernardo stand outside Lincoln Middle School asking for support on Election Day. (Breeze photos by Nicole Dotzenrod)

LINCOLN – Incumbent Republican Sen. Thomas Paolino beat Democratic opponent Dennis Lavallee at the polls Tuesday by a margin of 1.2 percent. There were reports early on in the evening that Paolino might have lost the seat.

In his bid for re-election, Paolino earned a total of 5,967 votes to Lavallee’s 5,828 in the three-town district, according to the unofficial results as of press time, a difference of 139 votes. Paolino earned 50.5 percent of the vote to Lavallee’s 49.3 percent.

According to the State Board of Elections, Paolino had 324 mail-in ballots while Lavallee had 278.

On his campaign Facebook page, Lavallee thanked “all friends and family that helped out. We came up short on votes, but not on effort,” he said. “Best of luck to Sen. Paolino.”

Paolino thanked his constituents in Lincoln, North Providence, and North Smithfield, “for continuing to give our district the best representation possible. Over the upcoming weeks and months I will be reaching out to receive your input on how we can best improve the quality of life for all of our residents. Whether it be growing our economy, competitive wages or reducing health insurance premiums; as your senator, I am always available to you.”

The unofficial election results also revealed John W. Lyle Jr. as the winner of the three-way race for House District 46. The Republican candidate secured 2,776 votes in the district that includes a portion of Pawtucket, for 46.1 percent of the vote. His opponent, Democrat Mary Ann Shallcross Smith, earned 2,664 votes, or 44.2 percent, while independent candidate John Cullen earned 573 votes, or 9.5 percent.

Lyle, a former state senator, will return to the General Assembly after a 24-year hiatus from politics, during which he served as an educator, administrator and attorney. His campaign prioritized five issues: supporting the school bond, growing the economy, equal pay for women, help for vulnerable populations and ethics reform.

Lyle told The Breeze he’s “very, very grateful to the citizens of the 46th District for the confidence that they’ve shown in me to do their work and their business at the Statehouse.”

He said he’s also pleased with the way the entire campaign went, thanking both of his opponents for their hard work.

“It’s a race that I think did the town of Lincoln and the city of Pawtucket proud,” he said. “Again, I’m very grateful. My wife Lori and I are looking forward to the opportunity of serving once again.”

Shallcross Smith, who held the District 46 seat from 2009 to 2011, said, “It was a great campaign trail that began last spring. I met lots of wonderful constituents who really care about Rhode Island. I was very fortunate to have such incredible volunteers who worked very hard on my election. Thanks to my supporters and my best wishes to Rep. Jack Lyle.”

There were 14 candidates for Lincoln town and General Assembly seats Tuesday who faced no opposition and secured the vast majority of the votes needed for the win.

Lori and Jack Lyle campaigned outside Lonsdale Elementary School on Tuesday night. Lyle won his bid for House District 46, earning 46 percent of the vote.