Plenty of new, youthful candidates emerge in Pawtucket

Plenty of new, youthful candidates emerge in Pawtucket

PAWTUCKET - The city's 2014 elections will have a decidedly youthful infusion, with numerous younger candidates declaring their intention to run for office prior to Wednesday’s filing deadline and a number of veteran politicians choosing not to run again.

Three Pawtucket heavyweights in the General Assembly, House District 60 Rep. Elaine Coderre, House 58 Rep. William San Bento, and House 59 Rep. J. Patrick O'Neill all decided not to seek re-election this year.

Youth is the word in the race for San Bento's seat, as former challenger Carlos Tobon, 32, who lost to the incumbent by one vote in 2012, filed papers to run for a third time. He'll face off in a Democratic primary against Joe Clark, 29, a local athletic coach who works at the Boys & Girls Club. Jonathan Vallecilla, 24, an independent, will take on the winner in the general election.

For O'Neill's House 59 seat, former O'Neill challenger John Arcaro and District 5 City Councilor Jean Philippe Barros both filed papers to run as Democrats in a primary. Return candidate Robert Venturini, an independent, declared his intent to face the winner.

For Coderre's seat, veteran School Committee member David Coughlin, a Democrat, should walk into the seat as a Democrat after no one filed papers to run against him.

In the Pawtucket City Council at-large race, three incumbents, Democrats Thomas Hodge, Albert Vitali Jr. and Larry Tetreault, as well as newcomer Sandra Cano, a freshman School Committee member, all filed declaration papers.

City Council President David Moran got a break when Al Alix, the pit bull owner who’s suing the city and had been campaigning against Moran for months, decided at the last minute to run for School Committee instead. Alix told The Breeze he filed in part because he thought there wouldn’t be many candidates for school board.

Only one of six district council seats will feature a race in 2014, and it’s for the District 5 seat being vacated by Barros. Mary Bray and Melissa DaRosa are both running as Democrats. Barring a successful write-in campaign, all other district councilors will get a free pass to an election win.

The race for Pawtucket School Committee will be a big one. A number of challengers will grab a seat with the majority of members on the board indicating they will not run again. Incumbents Joanne Bonollo and Michael Araujo, as well as challengers Gerard Charbonneau, John Crowley, Michael Laznik, Katherine McQuade, Erin Dube, Kimberly Grant, Joseph Knight, Douglas Maiko, Amy Zolt and Alix all filed to run as Democrats. John Tellini and Raymond Noonan both filed to run as independents.

The race for Senate District 15 will feature incumbent Democrat Donna Nesselbush, Republican Steve Lemois, and independent John Monahan.

The race for Senate District 16, covering parts of Pawtucket and Central Falls, will feature incumbent Democrat Sen. Elizabeth "Betty" Crowley and political newcomer Christine Lachapelle Miller, also a Democrat.

Incumbent Rep. Mary Duffy Messier , a Democrat in House District 62, will get a challenge from Democrat Travis Auty in the primary. Independent Rodney Barber will run in the general election.

House District 61 incumbent Democrat Raymond Johnston Jr., District 8 Sen. James Doyle II, and District 18 Sen. William Conley Jr. will all run without an opponent.

Grebien has no opponent in this year’s election.

After Wednesday's deadline for declaration of candidacy, the next important step for candidates happens from July 1 to July 11, when they must collect signatures from enough eligible voters to officially put their name on the ballot.

Rhode Island's statewide primary is Sept. 9 and the general election is Nov. 4. For more information on this year's election, visit the Office of the Secretary of State online Voter Information Center at www.sos.ri.gov/elections .