More fallout after Rep-elect Ascencao steps down
WARREN, R.I. (WLNE) -- Less than 24 hours after State Rep.-elect Laufton Ascencao stepped down from his seat representing Warren and Bristol over his admission he lied about a mailer supporting fellow Democrats, his Libertarian opponent Bill Hunt has filed a complaint with the Rhode Island Board of Elections over what he calls discrepancies in Ascencao's campaign finances.
"There was a significant number of instances where the ledger didn't match up. The donations reported by the PAC weren't showing up on the candidate's finance reports, or vice versa," said Hunt.
The BOE is now looking into that, as well as the fact Ascencao lied to candidates for Warren Town Council, claiming he sent out more than 400 mailers for their campaigns--when in fact he did not send any. Ascencao then sent a fake invoice to those candidates, including June Speakman.
"Well it's hard not to be angry when someone deceives you, right? The sense of disappointment and betrayal was pretty intense for me and the other candidates," said Speakman.
Speakman, who lost her race, wonders whether the flyer could have moved the needle, had it existed.
"Would the mailer have made any difference? It's really hard to say," said Speakman.
"I think there's a lot of hurt and a lot of people that feel very betrayed," said Hunt.
Hunt, trying to capitalize on that, says he's definitely running for Ascencao's seat, among a growing list of candidates.
"I think there's a Christmas miracle that there's once again 'hope with Hunt' with this election," said Hunt.
Speakman says she hasn't decided whether she'll run for the newly-vacated rep position, but she's already made this whole saga into an impromptu lesson in the courses she teaches at Roger Williams University.
"The cover-up is worse than the crime. If you have made a mistake you need to own up to it," said Speakman.
ABC6 reached out to Laufton Ascencao Thursday night to get his side of things, but we have not heard back.
I also spoke with the secretary of state's office about when this special election could happen. I'm told a date has not yet been set, because the office hasn't received Ascencao's official resignation letter.
© WLNE-TV / ABC6 2018