NARRAGANSETT - The deadline to declare candidacy for local and state office expired this week, and many are vying for a seat on a public body in Narragansett. There are eight candidates for Narragansett School Committee, compared to 2018's six candidates, and 18 candidates for Narragansett Town Council. The statewide primary election for local office will be held on Tuesday, Sept. 8, which will see town council candidates trimmed to 10, before the general election on Tuesday, Nov. 3.
The Narragansett School Committee and Town Council, by a law passed in 1988, are non-partisan bodies, meaning political party affiliations will not appear on the ballot alongside a candidate's name.
For Narragansett School Committee, which has enjoyed a good relationship with the town in recent years and steered clear of any controversy at the level of its town council counterpart, candidates include incumbents Tammy J. McNeiece, Diane S. Nobles and Justin Skenyon, along with challengers Alexander T. Menzies, who ran in 2018, Alicia M. Vignali Henry, Ethan J. Farrell, Joshua L. Laplante and Matthew S. Ulricksen.
School committee incumbents Rebecca Durkin and Frank White are not seeking re-election.
Meanwhile, it is a crowded field of candidates for Narragansett Town Council, perhaps a response to the string of controversies that have plagued the current council, from disagreements over a new town library project to multiple Open Meetings Act violations to numerous lawsuits.
Candidates for Narragansett Town Council include incumbents Jill A. Lawler, Jesse Pugh, Richard M. Lema and Patrick W. Murray, along with challengers Laurie A. Kelly (chair of the Narragansett Library Board of Trustees), Anthony J. Lupino, David K. Avedisian, Deborah A. Kopech, Ewa M. Dzwierzynski, Jason S. Colonies, Joseph Robenhymer, Meghan E. Murray, Michael J. Millen, Jr., Sara L. Benn, Steven B. Belaus, Steven J. Ferrandi, Narragansett Democratic Town Committee Chair Winters B. Hames III and former Narragansett Town Council President Susan Cicilline Buonanno.
The return of Cicilline Buonanno to the race for town council is notable, as the former Narragansett Town Council President declared her withdrawal from the 2018 race a month prior to the election. After the local and state board of canvassers in the days leading up to the 2018 election ruled her candidacy still valid and her withdrawal not official until notarized, Cicilline Buonanno refused to do so, making her technically still a candidate in the race, and she went on to recieve over 3,000 votes, narrowly missing election by less than 100 votes and finishing in sixth place for the five-seat body.
Current Narragansett Town Council President Matthew Mannix is not seeking re-election to the council, instead opting to run as an Independent for Rhode Island Senate District 36 (Narragansett, North Kingstown), the seat currently held by incumbent James C. Sheehan, who will not seek re-election in 2020. Joining Mannix in the race for Senate District 36 are Democrat Alana DiMario, Democrat Ellen S. Waxman, Democrat Robert E. Craven and Republican Doreen M. Costa, making for an exciting Democratic Primary Election on Sept. 8.
For District 35 (East Greenwich, North Kingstown, South Kingstown, Narragansett) in the state senate, only two candidates have declared: incumbent Democrat Bridget G. Valverde and Republican Charles P. Callanan.
For Rhode Island House of Representatives District 33 (Narragansett, South Kingstown), incumbent Democrat Carol Hagan McEntee will run unopposed. Incumbent Democrat Teresa Tanzi, meanwhile, will face off against two Democratic challengers in candidates Gina M. Giramma and Kimberly A. McGovern in House District 34 (Narragansett South Kingstown).