2017-07-20 / Front Page

Euer Earns Convincing Democratic Primary Win

By Olga Enger, James Merolla and Brooke Constance White

Democratic candidate Dawn Euer earned a convincing victory Tuesday night, July 18, according to the preliminary results of the Democratic Primary for the State Senate District 13 seat.

The seat, which represents Newport and Jamestown, became vacant on March 31 when M. Teresa Paiva Weed (D) resigned to lead the Hospital Association of Rhode Island. Euer will face off against Republican Michael Smith, Green Party candidate Gregory Larson and Independent Kimberly Ripoli in the special election to be held Aug. 22.

Euer said she was excited about the unofficial results, which made it clear that she had won by a strong margin.

“I was feeling good going into today, because from the start I’ve had a lot of grassroots support,” said Euer, who celebrated with supporters at the Firehouse Theater. “From day one, I’ve been talking with Newport and Jamestown residents about what their most important issues are.”

Euer received 1,162 of the 2,425 votes cast. She was followed by Newport School Committee Chair David Hanos (567), Newport City Councilor John Florez (423) and David Allard (273).

Euer said she will focus on making sure that working families can stay in Newport and Jamestown, passing smart and forward-thinking policies about the environment and the economy, and taking care of seniors and elderly.

“It’s always hard to tell how these things will turn out, but every day we kept talking to people to make sure they were voting,” she said. “I’ve been rooted in the community and I have worked on the grassroots issues. As an attorney, I think I will truly be a voice for the residents of Newport and Jamestown.”

In a short speech to the 40 attendees at the theater, Euer said the win isn’t about her but instead Newport and Jamestown. “I want to make sure that there’s someone at the State House who will put people first and I’ve been truly honored to earn the support of so many during the campaign,” she said.

Overall, 20 percent of eligible voters cast votes at one of four poll ing locations throughout the day. Only a few supporters with signs were spotted at the polls Tuesday. Almost five percent, or 580 of the 11,550 voters in Newport, submitted mail-in or emergency ballots. Tracy Nelson, canvassing clerk, delivered the ballots to the Board of Elections on Wednesday and said the results will be certified and official on Friday.

“I’m really happy for Dawn. I would be happy to help her win the general election,” Allard said shortly after the results were tallied.

At the Elks Lodge, where supporters of Hanos gathered, Paiva Weed commended Hanos on his campaign. “David, I’m proud of you, you did great,” she said. “You were honest, you worked hard.”

Hanos told Newport This Week that he would consider running for the seat in the 2018 election. “Let’s sleep on it and regroup,” he said.

Florez would not commit to supporting Euer. “I have not decided yet who to support in the general election,” he said on Wednesday morning. “Ultimately, I will decide on who I believe to be the most morally sound, competent candidate that I know will work best with the senate leadership to achieve the best interest of our community.”

Independent candidate Ripoli was given the news of Euer’s victory while finishing a class on public corruption at Roger Williams University in Bristol Tuesday night. “Obviously, Dawn has the support of the environmental groups and the support of the anti-casino lobby she advocated for,” she said. “She will be a formidable opponent.”

She added, however, that while Euer has a long resume, she does not have experience in state government and the military. “If you run on experience, I have 30 years of experience as a director, running an agency for the State of Rhode Island,” she said. “I know how agencies work. I have actual government experience and 26 years in the military, and working during those years at the Pentagon.”

Smith, the Republican candidate, said he is the better candidate than Euer.

“After knocking on thousands of doors and holding more than a dozen events in Jamestown and Newport, it is clear to me that I, not Dawn Euer and her progressive vision, holds the values and priorities of Jamestown and Newport voters,” he said. “They need and want a candidate who is laser-focused on helping everyone have a better standard of living, someone with a vision for a year-round economy and an environment that keeps families growing in our communities, while lowering our tax burdens. Someone who understands that voters are real people and puts them first and not special interest groups."

Larson, the Green Party candidate, focused on voter turnout. “That is a very low turnout for the Democrats,” he said.

The deadline to register for the special election is Sunday, July 23. The deadline to request an absentee ballot is Tuesday, Aug. 1. The emergency ballot period for the special election runs from Aug. 2 through Aug. 21.

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