Speaker Mattiello declares victory in Cranston race
CRANSTON, R.I. – It was another close House race in Cranston between Speaker Nick Mattiello and Republican Steve Frias, two years after Mattiello won by just 85 mail-in ballots.
Just 141 votes separated them before mail-in ballots were counted, but Frias conceded the race shortly after.
Mattiello declared his victory speech as the results were still rolling in, saying this was no ordinary campaign. He attacked the so-called political mud-slinging of the race, saying people haven't seen this type of coordinated political attack in 75 years.
Mattiello also attacked the media’s coverage of sexual assault allegations against Rep. Cale Keable. Last week, news broke that Rep. Katherine Kazarian first made the accusations known to Mattiello four years ago. Following media coverage, Mattiello removed Keable as chair of the judiciary committee.
Tuesday night, Mattiello blamed reporters for their coverage, calling it false: “You guys are running a story that none of us know the facts, good for you."
He said he wants to know more about what happened but that it’s dependent on what Kazarian is willing to put out in the open.
“It's up to Rep. Kazarian,” he said. “I'm all for all of the facts coming out yesterday. I don't have an issue with that.”
On Monday, 18 democrats, including 14 incumbents publicly said they won't support Mattiello for speaker. Mattiello told reporters he still has more than enough votes to secure the leadership position. He doesn’t support an anonymous vote, as some progressives have been pushing for, saying it’s important to keep transparency.
Frias, meanwhile, told his supporters that he worked hard but came up short. He said he gave the people of Cranston a choice to change, but they decided they wanted to stay the same, saying being a Republican had an impact on voters.
"There's a little bit of a trickle from the national level down to the state levels,” he said. “I could see that Republicans had struggled throughout the state in my own district. I did well - I came close - but I couldn't pull it off.”
Mattiello said he’s looking forward to continuing his focus on education and the economy.
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