2017-05-18 / Front Page

Special Election Coverage: What You Need to Know

By Olga Enger

Newport's political stage has a unique act this summer, with the special election for Rhode Island State Senate District 13 race scheduled in the heat of it. The seat, which represents Newport and Jamestown, became vacant on March 31, 2017, when M. Teresa Paiva Weed (D) resigned to lead the Hospital Association of Rhode Island.

Looking ahead at the filing deadline of June 8-9 to declare candidacy, Newport This Week interviewed the Newport Canvassing Authority to learn more about the special election. Here is what you need to know about the race:

The timing of the election is dictated by the Secretary of State's office, which requires the election to be held anywhere from 70 to 90 days after the vacancy opened.

To qualify to run for office, candidates must submit 100 signatures from registered voters within District 13. A candidate must be a registered voter and live within the district.

Five candidates have expressed interest in running for the seat, but they will not officially declare until June 8-9. Once this is done, their nomination papers to qualify are due by June 20. They are: David J. Allard (D), a manager of the state’s Third Grade Reading Goal for the Department of Education and a former outreach manager for Gov. Gina Raimondo; attorney Dawn Euer (D), the co-project director of the Newport Open Space Partnership; Newport City Councilor John Florez (D), owner of Drupal Connect; Newport School Committee Chair and Newport Fire Captain David Hanos (D); and Michael Smith (R), owner of Industry Electric.

If a City Councilor or School Committee member wins the election, the remaining members appoint the vacant seat within 30 days, according to the Newport City Charter. City Council would require four votes to fill the seat, and the School Committee vacancy would be filled by a majority vote on the remaining members.

The lottery for the ballot order will be held on June 23 by the Secretary of State's office for both the primary election and the special election.

Primaries will be held on July 18. The last day to register to vote in the primary is June 18. Voters must participate in the primary of their affiliated party. An unaffiliated voter may choose either party's primary, but not participate in both. The deadline to unaffiliate before the primary was April 19.

The special election will be held Aug. 22. The last day to register to vote in the special election is July 23. Mail ballots are due Aug. 1.

Members of the Rhode Island State Senate serve two-year terms and are not subject to term limits. State legislators earn a salary of $15,414 a year.

The first day that candidates must report campaign contributions is June 20, if participating in the primary. Since 2000, candidates for Rhode Island State Senate District 13 have raised a total of $691,539. On average, individual candidates raise approximately $53,195.

Return to top