SMITHFIELD – Town Councilor and endorsed Democrat David Tikoian took the win in the State Senate District 22 Democratic primary against two-time candidate Melanie DuPont in Tuesday’s primary.
Tikoian had 1,865 total votes in the district covering mainly Smithfield and a portion of North Providence, to 1,044 votes for DuPont.
Main-in ballots are not included in this count.
DuPont twice faced outgoing Sen. Stephen Archambault in the Democratic primary for the District 22 seat in 2018 and 2020, earning 35 percent and 41 percent of the totals in those elections.
DuPont voiced her opinion regarding her defeat on Twitter Tuesday night. She said while results aren’t official yet, it is not looking good.
“I give thanks for the amazing people who worked so hard to get me elected. Thank you all,” DuPont said.
Tikoian will go on to face Republican candidate and former Smithfield Town Council President Paul Santucci in the Nov. 8 election.
Tikoian said he took pride in running a clean campaign focused on his platform, and not name-calling. He said he and Santucci grew up in the same neighborhood off Smith Avenue, and he knew his family as good, hardworking people.
“I think Paul is a good person with good intentions,” Tikoian said.
The primary had been injected late with criticism from Tikoian’s former colleague Steven O’Donnell, who has a long-running feud with Tikoian, and supported DuPont in the race.
Tikoian had absorbed some criticism from DuPont for being hand-selected by the Democrat party to run only hours after incumbent Sen. Stephen Archambault decided against seeking re-election.
Tikoian’s platform focused on creating a thriving economy, including funding education and social services programs, fostering good-paying job opportunities, public safety, affordable housing, rebuilding aging infrastructure and more. He said he will also focus on helping government create shared municipal services and eliminate further taxes, efforts he said will help alleviate the strain on the municipal budget, infrastructure, recreation, and “so many other things.”
Tikoian spoke from the Uno Pizzeria in Smithfield where he and supporters gathered for the results.
“I feel thankful to the voters. I feel thankful to my family and all my supporters that they had the confidence in my leadership. Now, I’m focused on November,” he said.
Tikoian said the primary was the first hurdle, and the general election is the next to overcome.
Of his opponent, he said he wished he had a chance to meet DuPont while campaigning during the primary. He said he focused on the facts rather than personal attacks, leading him to the win.
“It was a spirited debate and campaign. The voters of District 22 spoke and I’m grateful for their confidence in me,” he said.
If successful in November, Tikoian said he will pull from his experience in municipal government and public safety to invest in shared municipal services and continue to keep living in Rhode Island affordable.
Archambault already declared his intent to run early in June and later pulled out of the race in the early afternoon of June 29, only hours before the 4 p.m. deadline to declare and leaving only a short window for other candidates to jump in.
Archambault served District 22 for 10 years. He said he retired to spend more time with his family.
DuPont said during the campaign that she was initially relieved to hear Archambault would not run for re-election until she learned, in her words, that Senate President Dominick Ruggerio had hand-picked his replacement.
Santucci, also ran against Archambault previously in 2020, earning 42 percent of the vote to Archambault’s 51 percent.
Santucci says he represents Republican ideals focusing on empowering parents to remove students from failing schools, help combat inflation in Rhode Island, and address unfunded post-employment benefits. He added that reducing recidivism in prisons is important to him as well.