Murray, de la Cruz win open General Assembly seats

Murray, de la Cruz win open General Assembly seats

Democrat Melissa Murray and Republican Jessica de la Cruz came away from Tuesday’s election with two General Assembly seats, both of which were up for grabs after sitting state senators announced they would not seek re-election earlier this year.

Murray, a sitting Woonsocket city councilor, won 58.9 percent of the vote in Senate District 24, covering parts of Woonsocket and North Smithfield, according to unofficial results from the State Board of Elections. Murray defeated independents Glenn Dusablon, a retired electrical inspector and former union president who secured 21.9 percent of the vote, and Richard Garrepy, a Marine Corps veteran and self-described “moderate conservative” who secured 13.9 percent of the vote. Michael Disney, a perennial independent candidate who has run in several elections, also secured 5 percent of the vote.

De la Cruz, a first-time candidate and stay-at-home mom from North Smithfield, defeated Burrillville Democratic Town Committee member and attorney Kevin Heitke with 55.5 percent of the vote in Senate District 23. Speaking to The Breeze Tuesday night, she attributed her win to many hours spent walking the district and her ability to meet voters of all parties and backgrounds where they were at.

“I had a good feeling going into today. I wouldn’t say that I was certain I was going to win, but I just had a really good feeling. I know that I put the work into it,” she said.

Incumbent candidates held onto their seats in other Senate and House races throughout Woonsocket and North Smithfield. In House District 49, Rep. Robert Phillips, a Democrat, defeated Moderate Party candidate Rufus Bailey, Jr. with 72 percent of the vote, while in Senate District 20, Sen. Roger Picard, a Democrat, defeated Republican candidate Michael Veri with 61.6 percent of the vote.

Incumbent Sen. Thomas Paolino, a Republican, also held onto his seat in Senate District 17, where he defeated Democratic challenger Dennis Lavallee by a margin of 1.2 percent. According to unofficial results from the State Board of Elections, Paolino secured 5,967 votes in the three-town district to Lavallee’s 5,828.

Several state representatives running unopposed also reclaimed seats on Tuesday, including Republican Rep. Brian Newberry (District 48, North Smithfield), Democratic Rep. Michael Morin (District 49, Woonsocket) and Democratic Rep. Stephen Casey (District 50, Woonsocket).