Republicans make gains in RI House of Representatives
By: Dee DeQuattro
While Republicans lost across the board on the statewide spots in Rhode Island they have nearly doubled their presence in the Rhode Island House of Representatives.
Most notably long time State Representative Peter Palumbo was ousted by Republican Bob Lancia and Democrat Deputy Majority Whip Lisa Tomasso lost to Republican Sherry Roberts.
Palumbo came under fire over the summer after State Police began to investigate state beach contracts which Palumbo bid on and after winning the contracts declined them. The contracts then went to the second highest bidder former state representative and Democratic Party chair David Caprio. After winning the concessions David Caprio hired Palumbo to work at the stands. The Rhode Island Ethics Commission also opened an investigation into the matter.
In Coventry Rep. Tomasso was ousted along with State Representative Scott Guthrie who lost to Republican Robert Nardoillo. Both Representatives were involved in trying to find a solution to address the insolvent Central Coventry Fire District.
In Richmond Representative Larry Valencia fell to Republican Justin Price and in Portsmouth one term State Representative Linda Finn lost to former Republican State Representative Dan Reilly.
The House Minority caucus has now grown from 6 to 11.
It may also see another member. In Charlestown, Representative Donna Walsh was ousted by Independent Blake Filippi who is likely to caucus with the Republicans.
In the Senate the Republicans continue to have five seats. In Exeter Democrat Representative Catherine Cool Rumsey was ousted by Republican Elaine Morgan but Democrats grabbed the seat back in Barrington where Democrat Cynthia Coyne defeated Republican Giovanni Cicione for the seat vacated by David Bates.
The seat vacated by outgoing Senator Dawson Hogson in District 35 was retained by the GOP. Republican Mark Gee overcoming Democrat James Callaghan.
(C) WLNE-TV 2014