Write-In Campaign is a Big Rhode Island Political Showdown

by Mark Curtis, ABC 6 Chief Political Reporter 



Democratic State House nominee Steve Casey is lobbying for votes at Debbie's Diner in Woonsocket.

Casey won the Democratic Primary in September.

“We've been campaigning very hard. I have really not paid much attention to my opponent's campaign I am running my campaign the way I want to and really not been paying attention to what's going on outside it,” said Stephen Casey.”

But Casey is facing a rematch in an election he thought he had won.

The Democratic incumbent, who lost, 3–term State Representative Jon Brien, launched a write–in campaign. He's worried some people did not get to vote in the primary.

“Confusion at the polls with redistricting. A lot of people didn't know where to go. They went to the wrong polls, and they went home,” said State Rep. Jon Brien, the write-in candidate for House District 50.

In fact an ABC–6 investigation uncovered thousands of Woonsocket voter notification cards that were never delivered:

ABC 6 Reporter Mark Curtis said, “This is a political showdown that has really captivated northern Rhode Island. You have a Casey sign in this yard and right next door a Brien supporter. You have to remember, these two gentlemen faced off in the primary that was decided by just 52 votes.”

Jon Brien faces an uphill fight. In order for a write–in vote to count, his name must be spelled correctly, and the arrow connected.

He has a couple of trucks rolling to get the message out.

“I mean it's a different kind of campaign, naturally because it's a write–in. but we have a lot of momentum right now with a lot of involvement with volunteers,” Brien said.

Brien and Casey are both mindful of a State House race earlier this year that was decided by one, lone vote:

“There are people who have worked in my campaign and they've all told me that during the primary, they got that extra one person out to vote and it does count,” said Casey

Based on yard signs alone, the District 50 House race looks dead even.