2018-11-08 / Opinion

A Year of Surprises

First, congratulations to all the hard-working Newport-area citizens who won their elections. Our thanks and congratulations also go out to all the other candidates who likewise put forth great effort and energy into their campaigns so that voters had choices. The residents were the real winners because so many put themselves out there to make sure the democratic process this country prides itself in was at work. Voting is the most important right citizens have, and one guaranteed by the Constitution.

We would also like to extend special thanks this year to all the volunteers who helped the candidates with their campaigns. A particularly large number of people stood at polling locations boldly holding campaign signs of their favored candidate despite the fog and drizzle of the day. These healthy turnouts extended to the myriad election watch parties held at various restaurants and watering holes around the city. The support was palpable.

If one or two phrases could describe the Election Day of Nov. 6, 2018, both locally and nationally, it would be “year for women” and “more involvement.”

We were also struck by the stark contrast of the new high-tech voter ID scanner as compared to the end of the night when runners with pen and paper in hand recorded tallies for their candidate at each polling location. As the staff made rounds to watch locals receive the news of their respective races, there were jubilant faces while others were downtrodden. Yet demeanor changed minute by minute, as some thought they fell below the cutoff with too few votes, and then numbers coming in from another precinct would raise their hopes. The final results are still subject to absentee ballots being counted, which could impact several contests.

In the days following these results, next steps will include naming the mayor and school committee chair in Newport and town council president in Middletown.

While many may think the top vote-getters get the top positions of leadership, that is not always the case. It is almost like the reality show, “Survivor,” where the newly elected form alliances, lobby among themselves and then vote to name the new mayor and council president. This is a good place, though, to remind everyone that the mayor and president have no extra weight or powers, but preside at meetings and act on behalf of the communities at ceremonies and other functions.

With the stress and uncertainty of the election behind us, we wish all the councils, school committee members and state legislators the best of luck for productive terms in office.

To the candidates who were not elected, or reelected, don't be disheartened. We hope you choose to stay involved in some capacity. The communities need people with such selfless commitment that candidates have shown by running in the first place.

As for our good-natured spin on The New York Times’ article, “How is your election night party? Remember these tips,” mentioned in the Page 1 caption, here goes. Feel free to employ these gag food and drinks at your 2020 election watch party:

1) Jeanne-Marie Napolitano Ice Cream
2) Susan Taylor Ham
3) Rebecca Bolan-ese Sauce
4) Lynn-seed and Rosemary Crackers Ceglie

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