Women poised to control majority of Providence City Council

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – For the first time in city history, women are on track to make up the majority of the Providence City Council following the victories of Democratic newcomers Helen Anthony and Rachel Miller Wednesday night.

In addition to Anthony’s win in Ward 2 and Miller’s victory in Ward 13, three incumbent female councilors – Jo-Ann Ryan in Ward 5, Carmen Castillo in Ward 9 and Sabina Matos in Ward 15 – also won their Democratic primary races, according to unofficial results from the Providence Board of Canvassers.

Ward 3 Councilwoman Nirva LaFortune and Ward 11 Councilwoman Mary Kay Harris, both Democrats, did not face primary challenges Wednesday. First-time candidate Katherine Kerwin, also a Democrat, did not have primary.

None of the eight female Democratic nominees for City Council face opponents in the general election Nov. 6, which means they are poised to hold the majority of the 15-member legislative body. Women held six council seats between 1995 and 1999.

Here’s how each council race played out (all results are unofficial).

Ward 1
Incumbent Councilman Seth Yurdin easily won his Democratic primary against challenger Justice Gaines, a progressive organizer. Yurdin won 1,149-631. Yurdin has no general election opponent.

Ward 2
In the race to replace retiring Councilman Sam Zurier, Anthony grabbed 66% of the vote in the three-way Democratic primary, dispatching Ryan Holt and Mark Feinstein. Anthony is a former councilperson in Columbia, Missouri. She does not have a general election opponent.

Ward 3
LaFortune, the incumbent Democrat, faced no primary and has no general election opponent.

Ward 4
Councilman Nick Narducci won 58% of the vote in his Democratic primary against challenger Jason Roias. Narducci does not have a general election opponent.

Ward 5
In one of the most closely-watched races in the city, Ryan easily beat back a Democratic primary challenge from Aaron Jaehnig and Steven Cianci. Ryan won 48% of the vote, while Jaehnig and Cianci finished tied at 26%. Ryan does not have a general election opponent.

Ward 6
Incumbent Councilman Michael Correia did not face a Democratic primary challenge and has no opponent in the general election.

Ward 7
Councilman John Igliozzi scored 66% of the vote in his Democratic primary matchup with David Marshall. He faces a general election challenge from independent Gaspar Espinoza.

Ward 8
It appears the only incumbent to lose their City Council seat Wednesday was Wilbur Jennings, who fell to retired firefighter James Taylor. Deya Garcia finished third. Taylor scored a whopping 55% of the vote. He will face independents Dave Talan and Carlos Diaz in the general election.

Ward 9
Incumbent Castillo was clinging to a 53-vote lead of Democratic primary challenger Hector Jose after the polls closed and mail ballots were counted. She faces no opponent in the general election.

Ward 10
Embattled Democrat Luis Aponte, the former council president, held a 26-vote lead over businessman Pedro Espinal, 614 to 588. Aponte will face independent Russ Hryzan in the general election.

Ward 11
Harris, the incumbent Democrat, did not face a Democratic primary challenge and doesn’t have a general election opponent.

Ward 12
After incumbent Councilman Terry Hassett did not qualify to appear on the ballot, Democrat Kerwin was the only candidate left standing. She does not face a general election opponent.

Ward 13
In another race for an open seat, Miller grabbed 41% of the vote over Cyd McKenna, Les Papp and Raymond Berarducci. With no opponent in the general election, Miller is all but guaranteed to succeed outgoing Councilman Bryan Principe.

Ward 14
Council President David Salvatore did not face a Democratic primary Wednesday. He faces independent Anthony Sionni in the general election.

Ward 15
Matos easily dispatched over Democratic challenge Oscar Vargas, who faced questions about whether he lived in the district. Matos does not have a general election opponent.

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Dan McGowan (dmcgowan@wpri.com) covers politics and the city of Providence for WPRI.com. Follow him on Twitter: @danmcgowan

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