The race for Newport City Council is now down to seven candidates after incumbent Justin McLaughlin announced his withdrawal from the race.

McLaughlin notified Tracy Nelson, Clerk of the Newport Canvassing Authority just before noon on Monday.

Shortly before 12:30 pm, he notified his fellow city council members and candidates with the following statement;

“Unlike Hamlet, whose last words were “The rest is silence”, I’m not dying, not moving, and certainly not going to be silent.  Just refocusing life.  More time for relationships and flowers! And, when Covid ends, travel! In the meantime, three more council meetings, Covid updates and workshops, and two months of service. I don’t plan to endorse any at-large candidates. I’ll leave that to the voters.  Good luck to all of you,” McLaughlin wrote to the current.

Before his current term on the council as an At-Large council member, McLaughlin served four terms as Second Ward Councilor on the Newport City Council from 2007 through 2014 and served one term as an At Large Councilor on the Newport City Council from 2014 to 2016.

McLaughlin notified members of the media shortly before noon with the following;

“Beyond what is contained in this email, I have decided to withhold public comment about my decision to withdraw from the at-large City Council race at this time,” McLaughlin wrote in a statement to What’s Up Newp. 

“I believe that I could have been successful in that race, but there is much more to the job than winning an election. After 12 years on the council, I know all too well that it involves a bit more than attending two meetings a month! My decision represents an honest assessment of my ability to fully commit to the responsibilities of the position”, McLaughlin wrote. I came to realize that I wasn’t prepared  to fulfill the promise to the voters that running makes.  I hope that I can be of service to the community in the future in other ways”. 

“The focus of electoral coverage at this time should be on the seven at-large candidates that remain.  Four of them will win and hopefully the Fourth Estate will do everything it can to ensure that the voters are as fully informed about their experiences, qualifications, and policy positions as is possible.  There will be time to explore my years on the city council after the election, but now is not the time for that to be a distraction,” McLaughlin concluded.

Twelve candidates announced their candidacy for an At-Large seat at the end of June, Derek Grinkin, Elizabeth Cullen, Elizabeth Fuerte, Councilwoman and Mayor Jamie Bova, Councilwoman Jeanne-Marie Napolitano, Councilman Justin McLaughlin, Kevin Michaud. Councilwoman Lynn Ceglie (currently represents Ward 2), Meagan Landry, Olga Enger, Councilwoman Susan Taylor, and William Kimes.

The September 8th primary narrowed the list down to the top eight vote-getters.

  1. Jamie Bova (1502 total primary votes)
  2. Jeanne-Marie Napolitano (1209)
  3. Susan Taylor (1172)
  4. Lynn Underwood Ceglie (1101)
  5. Justin McLaughlin (926)
  6. Kevin Michaud (918)
  7. Elizabeth Fuerte (817)
  8. Elizabeth “Beth” Cullen (699)

The top four vote-getters at the November 3rd General Election will be sworn in as the new At-Large candidates in December.