Dems celebrate Raimondo, McKee primary victories

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Sometime around 8:20 or so last Wednesday evening, Frank Saccaccio broke the surprising silence inside the Mayor Joseph Polisena-Johnston Democratic Town Committee headquarters and announced, “Ted Nesi of Channel 12 just declared Gina as the winner!”

Although that statement seemed to temporarily subdue anxious moments of Primary Night 2018, everyone from the town’s elected officials to JDTC members and volunteers were still apprehensive about the night’s final outcome of the much-bantered Rhode Island races, namely the posts of Governor and Lt. Governor.

“Thank goodness for cell phones,” mused Arnie Vecchione, Johnston’s Director of Public Works, as many of the six dozen or so people who showed up at 7 o’clock to take in the night’s action were glued to their mobile units keeping track of the two hotly contested races. “There are all kinds of sites with information …”

At night’s end, there was relief and satisfaction with the results, simply because the JDTC’s choices – Gina Raimondo and Dan McKee – both posted victories that sent the Governor and Lt. Governor onto the Nov. 6. RI General Election against their Republican and independent challengers.

“We are all very satisfied with the results in the [Democratic] Primary,” Richard J. DelFino Jr., long-serving and skilled chairman of the JDTC. “Our team worked tirelessly for those candidates who were best prepared to continue working on behalf of the people of Johnston.”

The fact that Raimondo and McKee won their respective primaries against opponents who DelFino Jr. concurred worked hard during their campaigns but it without question a testimony – and sign – that Johnston Democrats pushed them over the top.

For example, Raimondo defeated Matt Brown, 1,381 to 1,279, and the Governor had just benefited from a 200-people plus Community Dinner as well as the JDCT being the first group of any kind to endorse her for the 2018 election.

That endorsement came back in late June when Polisena, as he proudly noted the other night, became “the first – and only – mayor in the state to publicly throw his support into Governor Raimondo’s re-election bid.”

Now, as DelFino emphasized: “It’s important to elect local, statewide and federal officials who we can all work with cooperatively. We have all seen how well working on behalf of the people of Johnston this team, led by Mayor Polisena, has stabilized our tax base brought tremendous economic development to the town.”

As case in point, as DelFino wanted it known, “is the beautiful Citizens Bank Campus that Gov. Raimondo endorsed from its humble beginning to ribbon cutting ceremony of the Route 295 on-and-off ramps as well as its stunning mega campus.”

Meanwhile, the fact that McKee – who Polisena’s touts as a personal friend – defeated Alan Regenberg, 1,759 to 1,192, is a further strength of the JDTC’s efforts, support and endorsement of the former Cumberland mayor’s re-election bid.”

For the first time in history, there were surprisingly no local primaries in Johnston.

Now, as DelFino and Polisena let it be known, “it’s on to the (RI) General Election and we’re committed to assisting Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, Congressmen David Ciccilline and Jim Langevin, Treasurer Seth Magaziner, Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea and Peter Neronha, who is running for Attorney General, in their elections.”

Likewise, DelFino Jr. said, “Now we’re also planning our efforts to ensure the re-election of Mayor Polisena, Sen. Frank Lombardo and Linda Folcarelli, our Town Council candidate in District I.”

DelFino Jr., who along with Polisena and Chief of Staff Doug Jeffrey attended victory celebrations for Raimondo and McKee last week, added, “Please know we need all your support. Remember, out motto is working together, winning together!” 

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