2017-06-15 / Front Page

7 vying for Paiva Weed Senate seat

Green Party candidate, independent join GOP nominee and 4 Dems

Seven candidates met Friday’s filing deadline to battle for Teresa Paiva Weed’s vacated Senate seat, although none of them hail from Jamestown.

Green Party candidate Gregory Larson, independent Kimberly Ripoli and Republican Michael Smith join Democrats David Allard, Dawn Euer, David Hanos and John Florez. The seven hopefuls for the District 13 seat all are from Newport.

The general election is scheduled for Aug. 22, but the four Democrats will have to battle for their party’s nomination during a July 18 primary.

While the GOP nominee and Democrats have been campaigning for weeks, the two third-party hopefuls are latecomers to the race.

Larson, 68, is a retired high school teacher who has lived in Newport for 11 years. This will not be his first bid for state office. He filed declaration papers in 2014 as a Democrat for House District 75, but his name was removed from the primary ballot because he did not return paperwork with the required signatures. Four years earlier, he ran as a member of the Green Party against incumbent Democrat J. Russell Jackson for House District 73. Larson lost in the general election, 1,849 to 619.

Ripoli is a 54-year-old retired U.S. Navy officer who served as associate director of the state Division of Veterans Affairs. This is her debut effort for political office.

Smith, 49, owns an electricity company in his hometown. Because he is the only Republican on the ballot, there will be no GOP primary. In the 2014 election for the District 13 seat, Smith lost by 10 percentage points to Paiva Weed, the closest call of her 24-year legislative career. He fared better in Jamestown than with Newport voters, losing by fewer than 200 votes in town, 1,501 to 1,305. Smith also ran against incumbent Democrat Lauren Carson in 2016 for the House District 75 seat, ultimately losing with 44 percent of the vote.

For the Democrats, Allard manages third-grade reading for the state Department of Education, Euer is an attorney and social activist, Florez is a city councilman who owns a website development firm and Hanos is a firefighter and chairman of the Newport school board.

The election is a result of Paiva Weed’s resignation from her president’s seat at the end of March. The 13-term senator left to accept an administrator’s post with the Hospital Administration of Rhode Island.

The seven candidates now have to collect 100 signatures from registered voters in the district by June 20 to have their names appear on the ballot.

For voters, the last day to register for the Democratic primary is June 18. Because that is a Sunday, Town Hall will be open from 1-4 p.m. The last day to apply for a mail ballot for the primary is June 27. For the general election, the last day to register is July 23. The last day to apply for a mail ballot is Aug. 1.

During the primary and general elections, all registered voters in town will cast their ballots at the recreation center. Lawn School will not be a polling place this year.

Come meet the candidates

The Democratic candidates vying for Teresa Paiva Weed’s vacated seat in the state legislature will meet voters from 5:30-7:30 p.m. tonight at Slice of Heaven, 32 Narragansett Ave.

Seeking the party’s nod for the District 13 Senate seat are David Allard, Dawn Euer, John Florez and David Hanos, all of Newport. The primary is scheduled for July 18. The deadline to register to vote in that election is June 20. Because it falls on a Sunday, Town Hall will be open from 1- 4 p.m.

The seat was vacated in March by Paiva Weed, the 13-term senator who resigned from her president’s post to accept a job in the private sector. Tonight’s meeting is sponsored by the Jamestown Democratic Town Committee.

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