RICHMOND, R.I. — An incumbent GOP legislator is expected to request a recount, after unofficial results show a progressive Democrat beating him by four votes
State Rep. Justin K. Price, who represents District 39, had faced calls for his resignation last year after he marched to the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, and tweeted conspiracy theories blaming antifascists for the deadly violence. This year, he lagged in fundraising in his re-election campaign, for the first time since running in 2014.
Price, who is a member of four House committees, received 2,985 votes on Election Day. He was edged out by Democrat Megan Cotter, who received 2,989 votes. Cotter had come within about 320 votes of Price in the 2020 election.
Independent candidate Sean P. Comella, a Providence police officer, received 669 votes. There are also two votes for write-in candidates.
State GOP Party chairwoman Sue Cienki confirmed Wednesday that Price plans to request a recount. He must submit a notarized letter of his request to the Board of Elections by 4 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 15.
District 39 includes Richmond and portions of Exeter and Hopkinton, in the rural southwest corner of Rhode Island. Voters in all three towns mostly chose Republican candidates. This race, however, was an outlier.
Local officials in all three towns said the total count is still unofficial. In Richmond, there were 40 mail ballots still waiting to be processed, as well as five provisional ballots, said Stephanie Bubar, administrative assistant in the town clerk’s office. They had received a total of 332 qualified mail ballots, and processed 292 so far, she said.
Even when the rest of Richmond’s mail ballots are tallied, it won’t be enough to make up the difference. Cotter received 1,603 votes in Richmond, to 1,542 for Price, who lives in town. Comella also received 461 votes.
Hopkinton still has 32 provisional ballots to process. Cotter beat Price, 266 to 251, with Comella picking up 43 votes. Two voters also wrote in other candidates.
Price took the lead in Exeter, receiving 1,192 votes there compared to 1,120 for Cotter. Comella received 165 votes. But there are more mail ballots still waiting to be processed.