NARRAGANSETT - After the votes were tallied and the polls closed Tuesday evening in Narragansett and South Kingstown, the winner of the Republican primary for the House District 34 emerged as current Narragansett Town Councilman Christopher Wilkens. Having defeated his challenger, Steven Tetzner, Wilkens will now face off against incumbent and Democrat Teresa Tanzi in the November elections.
“Steve ran a fantastic race, and he put me through the paces,” said Wilkens. “With his dedication and fortitude, he did a great job. My sincere congratulations are to him for running the race that he did.”
Wilkens won the Republican vote with 238 votes, or 55.9 percent, to Tetzner’s 188 votes, or 44.1 percent. Wilkens expressed relief at a gathering he held at Turtle Soup Restaurant in Narragansett Tuesday evening, and pointed out that even though he had spend around $2,500 for his campaign, he still won over Tetzner, who had contributed a large amount of his resources for campaigning.
“We just said please come out and vote,” said Wilkens of his campaign. “I am happy that I survived a tsunami of money coming my way.”
Tetzner expressed disappointment at having lost the election, but felt that he had committed conducted himself to the best of his ability during the past several months leading up to Tuesday’s primary.
“I think that everything I did in this campaign was 100 percent on the mark, and I didn’t leave any stone unturned,” said Tetzner. “My wife and I knocked on over 3,000 doors, and I spent a fair amount of money on marketing. I tried to exhaust every possible medium to get my message out to the people.”
“I think we ran a professional and clean campaign over the last several months and am proud of the supporters who came out and voted for me on primary day,” he added.
Tetzner further noted that although he had lost the primary, the positive voter turnout was reflective of the work that both he and Wilkens had done to push for the Republican candidacy.
“We had quite a turnout for a Republican primary, about 550 voters, and I think that is a pretty high turnout in the Narragansett area,” said Tetzner. “Obviously both campaigns did the job in terms of getting voters out, which is very hard to do for a primary.”
“I came out of left field, ran a campaign, and almost beat a guy involved in town many years and sitting as a Town Councilor for the past six years,” he added. “He only beat me by 40 some odd votes. Of course I wanted to win, but I think that we did an unbelievable job.”
Among the votes for Narragansett Town Council, newcomers made their way into the top five of 10 candidates who will fight for seats in November. The top five vote-getters were James M. Callaghan with 1,140 votes (15.5 percent), Matthew M. Mannix with 961 votes (13 percent), Susan Cicilline-Buonanno with 898 votes (12.2 percent), Patrick W. Murray with 778 votes (10.6 percent), and Glenna M. Hagopian with 639 votes (8.7 percent).
The remaining five candidates, in order, were: Michael L. Lapisky with 629 votes (8.5 percent), David J. Crook, Sr. with 562 votes (7.6 percent), Douglas E. McLaughlin with 540 votes (7.3 percent), Alisa Trainor-Fleet with 498 votes (6.8 percent), and Chris M. Laccionole with 375 votes (5.1 percent). Robert W. Briar, who received the lowest vote count at 351, or 4.8 percent, is eliminated from contention in the November elections.
In the Democratic battle for the U.S. House of Representatives District 2 seat, Langevin grabbed an overwhelmingly majority of the vote with 72.6 percent, or 727 votes. His challenger, John O. Matson, received 274 votes, or 27.4 percent.