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R.I. Board of Elections to consider recounts in three House races

Representative Justin Price, who “marched to the Capitol” on Jan. 6, 2021, seeks recount in race in which he trails by 29 votes

State Representative Justin K. Price, a Richmond Republican, speaks on the floor of the state House of Representatives in June 2022.Amanda Milkovits

PROVIDENCE — The state Board of Elections on Friday will consider requests for recounts in three closely contested races for the state House of Representatives, a board spokesman said Tuesday.

In House District 39, Representative Justin K. Price, a Richmond Republican, is requesting a recount in the race that Democrat Megan L. Cotter leads by 29 votes.

Cotter has 3,027 votes, while Price has 2,998 votes, and independent candidate Sean Patrick Comella has 670 votes, according to the Board of Elections.

Price had faced pressure to resign after acknowledging he marched to the US Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, and espoused the debunked conspiracy theory that Antifa was to blame for the ensuing riot. In a series of tweets, Price said he “marched to the Capitol” with “peaceful patriots,” but said he didn’t enter the building and claimed Antifa “false flagged” the “Trump rally.”


In House District 53, Representative Bernard A. Hawkins, a Smithfield Democrat, is asking for a recount in the race that Republican Brian J. Rea leads by 59 votes.

Rea has 2,503 votes while Hawkins has 2,444 votes, according to the Board of Elections. This represents just the latest tight race between the two. In the 2020, Hawkins beat Rea by 89 votes, and Rea requested a recount then.

In House District 21, Republican Marie A. Hopkins is requesting a recount in the race that Representative Camille F. Vella-Wilkinson, a Warwick Democrat, leads by 37 votes.

Vella-Wilkinson has 2,615 votes, while Hopkins has 2,578 votes, according to the Board of Elections.

Republicans went into the Nov. 8 elections hoping to add to the 15 seats they hold in the 113-member General Assembly. But despite hopes of riding a national “red wave” in the midterm elections, it appears the GOP will end up with 14 total Assembly seats, including five in the Senate and nine in the House, unless the recounts change some results.


The Board of Elections plans to consider the recount requests during a meeting on Friday morning, board spokesman Christopher Hunter said.

The board will base the decisions on state law, which allows manual re-feeding of ballots into voting equipment in races where the number of votes cast is less than or equal to 20,000 and the trailing candidate is behind by 2 percent or 200 votes, whichever is less.

If it approves a recount, the Board of Elections will aim to complete the recounts by the end of the day on Friday, Hunter said.

The deadline for requesting a recount was 4 p.m. Tuesday.

In addition to the three House races, the board received recount requests from Scituate School Committee candidate Lori Hart LaFauci, Little Compton Town Council candidate Maureen R. Rego, Cranston School Committee Ward 5 candidate Arthur P. Scavitti Sr., and Warwick City Council Ward 1 candidate Patrick E. Maloney Jr.

This article has been updated to include Marie A. Hopkins’ and Justin K. Price’s affiliation with Parents United RI.

Edward Fitzpatrick can be reached at Follow him @FitzProv.