Providence gets its own version of Super Tuesday

Kennedy Plaza, the 1871 Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument, and Providence City Hall.
Kennedy Plaza, the 1871 Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument, and Providence City Hall.Lane Turner/Globe Staff

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Happy Tuesday and welcome to Rhode Map, your daily guide to everything happening in the Ocean State. I'm Dan McGowan and I’m still more excited for the NCAA Tournament than I am for Super Tuesday. Follow me on Twitter @DanMcGowan or send tips to Dan.McGowan@globe.com.

Rhode Islanders won’t get to pick their preferred Democratic presidential candidate until next month, but voters in one section of Providence are getting to participate in their own version of Super Tuesday.


Today is the special Democratic primary for the City Council seat in Ward 1, which includes Fox Point and parts of downtown, Wayland Square, and College Hill. Because there are no Republicans or independents running, voters will be picking their new councilman today.

The contenders: Businessman Anthony Santurri, educator John Goncalves, and real estate professional Nick Cicchitelli.

Those who have followed the race closely say they haven’t seen many ideological differences among the three candidates – they’re all socially liberal and are against the proposed Hope Point Tower on Dyer Street, which, it seems, was a prerequisite for entering the race.

I moderated a Downtown Neighborhood Association forum with the three candidates on Feb 18, and struggled to find areas of disagreement. On addressing Providence’s ailing pension fund, Cicchitelli was the only candidate who said he’d be open to revisiting existing retiree benefits. All three said they’d consider pension changes for current and future employees.

Special elections always come down to the candidates’ ground game because turnout is usually pretty low. Roughly 1,800 people voted in the 2018 Democratic primary, and the under/over for today’s race has to be around 1,000.


By City Council standards, Santurri has spent an exorbitant amount on the race (approaching $50,000), which has led some in City Hall to believe he’s the favorite. But Goncalves has knocked a lot of doors and Cicchitelli lives in the section of the ward that has the most votes, so this race should be competitive.

The candidates are running to replace Democrat Seth Yurdin, who announced his resignation in January after 13 years on the council.


Rhode Map wants to hear from you. If you've got a scoop or a link to an interesting news story in Rhode Island, e-mail us at RInews@globe.com.

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Dan McGowan can be reached at dan.mcgowan@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at @danmcgowan.