2006-11-09 / Front Page

Two-thirds of island voters cast ballots in Tuesday's election

By Donna K. Drago

Islanders filled the voting booths at the Melrose Avenue School Tuesday evening after work. Photo by Jeff McDonough Islanders filled the voting booths at the Melrose Avenue School Tuesday evening after work. Photo by Jeff McDonough Some 3,022 of Jamestown's 4,580, or 66 percent of registered voters turned out to cast ballots in Tuesday's general election.

Town Canvassing Clerk Karen Montoya said, "It was great" to see so many turn out for the midterm elections. Jamestowners usually have about "60 to 62 percent" participation, Montoya added. Montoya said Jamestowners cast about 200 absentee ballots, which will be counted at the Statehouse.

The only candidate with a direct link to the island, the current Town Solicitor J. William W. Harsch, running as a Republican for Attorney General, did well in his home town. Harsch took 1,652 votes to incumbent Patrick Lynch's 1,445, but Jamestown's support was not enough to win Harsch the seat statewide, where he received 41 percent of the vote to the popular Lynch's 59 percent.

In the races that were most watched: those for the U.S. Senate and governor, Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse, a former attorney general running against incumbent Sen. Lincoln Chafee, won statewide by a margin of 54 to 46 percent. Jamestown's votes were virtually the same with Whitehouse receiving 53 percent to Chafee's 47 percent.

In the race for governor, votes were tallied into the late hours, and it was finally determined that the very close race went to the incumbent Republican Donald Carcieri, 51 to 49 percent over Democrat Charles Fogarty, the current lieutenant governor.

In Congress, Democrat Patrick Kennedy handily defeated his little-known opponents with 69 percent of the votes cast. Jamestown voters gave Kennedy 61.5 percent of their votes.

Both Jamestown's representatives to the state General Assembly, Sen. M. Teresa Paiva Weed and Rep. Bruce Long, who were running unopposed, received 100 percent of the local votes.

In other state races: Democrat Elizabeth Roberts took the most votes for lieutenant governor, with 53 percent to Republican Reginald Centracchio's 34 percent. Cool Moose party candidate Bob Healey received 13 percent statewide and just over 22 percent in Jamestown, where he was endorsed by this paper.

The new secretary of state will be Democrat Ralph Mollis, who won with 53 percent of the vote statewide. Jamestowners chose his opponent Republican Sue Stenhouse, who received 55 percent of the vote on the island.

The general treasurer race went to Democrat Frank Caprio who won with 73 percent of the vote over his opponent Andrew Lyon III.

The ballot question that caused the most concern to island voters was Question 1 on the West Warwick casino to be run by Harrah's for the Narragansett Indian Tribe, was defeated by a deafening 76 to 24 percent in Jamestown, and by a lesser margin of about 63 percent statewide.

Jamestown had no local questions on Tuesday's ballot. On the remaining statewide ballot questions, felons narrowly won the right to vote after they get out of prison, 51 to 49 percent. Putting more money in the state's "Rainy Day Fund," passed with 59 percent of the vote. A new pharmacy school at URI and other state college improvements passed with 62 percent of votes cast. The transportation bond referendum passed with about 75 percent of the vote. The Roger Williams Park Zoo will get a major facelift as the zoo bond passed with 68 percent. The Fort Adams improvement bond was the only referendum that voters did not support. The state Department of Environmental Management's bonds to expand recreational facilities passed with 61 percent of the vote.

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