Early results show de la Cruz winning District 23 nomination by just 13 votes

Pacheco says he won't ask for a recount if opponent's win is verified


BURRILLVILLE – Results of Wednesday’s primary election showed tight races in both parties for the District 23 seat held by retiring Sen. Paul Fogarty, with early results showing wins for Republican Jessica de la Cruz and Democrat Kevin Heike.

But with provisional ballots still being counted, the Republican race may be too close to call. Town Council President John Pacheco had secured 630 votes to de la Cruz’s 643 in the early tally as of Thursday morning, numbers close enough for the Burrillville candidate to call for a recount.

Pacheco told NRI NOW he will not request a recount if de la Cruz is still ahead once the final ballots, delivered to the Board of Elections in Providence from towns across the state today, are counted.

“I’ll wait until these provisional ballots are counted, and then I’ll just support her,” said Pacheco, who still has more than two years remaining in his council position. “I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed, but Jess was a good candidate. If she wasn’t running against me, I would have voted her. I have a lot of work to do still on council.”

In Burrillville, Pacheco was preferred over de la Cruz, a North Smithfield resident, with the council president securing 425 to her 312 votes. Town Clerk Louise Phaneuf said that she dropped off 11 of those provisional ballots on Thursday, and more were expected to come in from the other towns represented by the state Senate seat – Glocester and North Smithfield.

On the Democratic side, Heike secured his nomination a bit more decisively, winning 1224 primary votes to Paul Roselli’s 1095.

Primary voters in Burrillville, generally, voted a bit differently than others across the state, deviating from statewide trends in their picks for both governor and lieutenant governor.

Democrat Matthew Brown, who succinctly lost the gubernatorial nomination to incumbent Gov. Gina Raimondo, more than doubled the governor’s votes in Burrillville. Town voters cast 835 votes for Brown and just 410 for Raimondo.

Other races showed similar results, with candidates who visited Burrillville for events like the town hall meetings organized by resident Donna Woods, faring well with primary voters. J Aaron Regunberg, who missed the nomination by 2,402 votes statewide, also was popular in Burrillville, securing 694 votes to incumbent Lt. Gov Daniel McKee’s 636.

The Republican Town Council race, meanwhile, saw incumbent Donald Fox leading the pack with 548 primary votes in the early tally, followed by council newcomer Dennis Anderson, who received 498.

Robert Woods, who ended his campaign for a spot on the council back in August but did not officially withdraw his name from the race, came in fourth among the five Republican Town Council candidates with 433 votes. That means that as long as Woods officially withdraws his name from the General Election ballot in writing within the next three days, the Republican Town Committee will name his November replacement.

Phaneuf noted that the group would not necessarily have to pick the candidate who came in last in the Republican race, Justin Batalon.

“As of right now, he would be on the ballot in November,” Phaneuf said of Woods.

The Republican names will be added to a list of four Democrats and three independents also vying for the four open seats in November.

Phaneuf noted that it was a good turnout compared to past years for primary voters in Burrillville, with more than 1,300 residents casting ballots.

The results of the primary contest are expected to be certified next week with the names to appear on the November General Election ballot finalized.

A full list of results statewide can be found here.

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