2017-08-24 / Front Page

Euer rolls again, earns Senate seat

Democrat racks up victory in four-way race to replace Paiva Weed
BY TIM RIEL AND ROBERT BERCZUK


Dawn Euer celebrates her win Tuesday night with her new Smith Hill colleague, state Rep. Deb. Ruggiero. Dawn Euer celebrates her win Tuesday night with her new Smith Hill colleague, state Rep. Deb. Ruggiero. Dawn Euer is winning elections so easily you’d think she was an incumbent — and now she is.

Euer, a Democrat, cruised to a win Tuesday in the state Senate District 13 race, garnering about 59 percent of the vote in the four-way contest.

“Tonight’s win is a win for everyone who believes that we need to do more to create good-paying jobs and help our small businesses thrive,” Euer said in a prepared statement. “Who believes we deserve a government that is transparent and accountable to the people it serves. Who believes we need to do more to address climate change and preserve the open spaces that make our communities special. And who believes that our seniors deserve the ability to age in place with dignity.”

Euer, who did not return calls seeking comment Tuesday night, outpaced Republican opponent Mike Smith, in- dependent candidate Kim Ripoli and Green Party standard bearer Gregory Larson.

The four Newport residents were vying to replace Teresa Paiva Weed, the former Senate president who served Newport and Jamestown since 1992. The 12-term Democratic lawmaker resigned in March to accept an administrator’s position at a nonprofit hospital agency in Providence.

In Jamestown, Euer earned about 57 percent of the vote (687) to Smith’s approximately 40 percent (483). Ripoli (33) and Larson (9) pulled in about 3 percent and 1 percent, respectively.

Overall, there were 3,367 ballots cast out of a possible 18,616, or about 18 percent.

“We were excited about Jamestown,” Smith said. “We worked it aggressively. We spent every weekend at the transfer station and got a great response. We expected to carry Jamestown. In the end, however, we obviously didn’t appeal to the voters.”

During the campaign, Euer, 38, said a commitment to public service, including time volunteering with community organizations, was her strongest quality.

“I know that we need more than political buzzwords to address the challenges facing our community,” she said. “We need to have tough conversations and we need to be willing to listen to each other to understand different perspectives. I understand the work it takes to make change and have a record of standing up for what is right.”

Smith was gracious in defeat, congratulating Euer on her win.

“We did all we could do; we fought hard,” he said. “We had the enthusiasm and we had the momentum, but we just couldn’t cross the finish line.”

The 49-year-old did not want to say whether he may seek office again. Smith, who lost to Paiva Weed in 2014 by a margin of 55 percent to 45 percent, said his campaign should have been more creative in driving out the vote.

“With the special election being in the summer, we could have focused more on the voter turnout,” he said.

Ripoli, 54, congratulated Euer on the win, but said another Democrat is not what Smith Hill needs.

“I don’t think for the state of Rhode Island, or for District 13, that having one more person in the majority is going to be to our benefit,” she said.

Saying she had a positive experience, Ripoli hopes more independents run in the future so the legislature can have voices outside the two main parties.

Euer also highlighted her desire to aid small businesses by helping build a diversified, forward-thinking economy for the Ocean State.

Another critical area that needs to be addressed is the increasing cost of housing in the area, she said.

In an aside that won’t affect the outcome, there was a red flag raised with the mail ballots when it was discovered that 230 of the 495 mail ballots reportedly were notarized by the same person. These ballots were embargoed and the state Board of Elections will have a hearing Monday to decide whether to count those ballots.

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