Voters today will be narrowing the field in spirited Newport City Council and state Representative races throughout Aquidneck Island.

Polls open at 7 a.m. in all towns this morning and close at 8 p.m. It is unlikely races will be decided until all absentee and mail-in ballots are counted. Voters can refer to the Secretary of State’s website for information about their voting status and polling places.

Meanwhile, statewide, the Democrats’ progressive wing is challenging Senate leadership. Progressives have been making gains in the legislature over the last few years. This year, 24 candidates, from council to legislature, have been running as part of the Rhode Island Political Cooperative.

Among those is one candidate from Aquidneck Island, Michelle McGaw, who is running for Representative in District 71. She is in a Democratic primary against Tiverton Councilman John G. Edwards V. The incumbent, Rep. Dennis Canaria is not running for reelection. The primary winner faces Republican Amy Veri. The district includes Portsmouth, Tiverton, and Little Compton.

In the two other Representative races, incumbents are facing challengers. Rep. Terri-Denise Cortvriend, D-72 (Portsmouth, Middletown) is facing Christopher T. Semonelli. The winner takes on Republican Kenneth J. Mendonca in November. 

Rep. Deborah Ruggiero, D-Dist. 74 (Jamestown, Middletown) is being challenged by Middletown Councilman Henry F. Lombardi, Jr. There is no Republican challenger so the winner of the primary will win the seat.

There are 19 candidates running for Newport City Council, 12 running for the four at-large seats. Today’s election will reduce the number of at-large candidates in the non-partisan race from 12 to eight, for four seats. There is also a primary in Ward three, with three candidates vying for two spots in the general election.

The candidates in Ward three are incumbent Kathryn Leonard and Rachel Hussey and Paul Marshall.

Running for at-large seats are 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.

Update 10:50 am – The City of Newport had 1602 applications for mail ballots.  Tracy Nelson, Canvassing Clerk/Administrator, told What’s Up Newp this morning that they have started tallying them, but probably will not be finished until Thursday afternoon/Friday morning.

As far as the breakdown for the 1602 applications for mail ballots, 386 were requested in Ward 1, 652 in Ward 2, and 564 in Ward 3.

According to Nelson, ahead of today they had 204 vote early in-person at city hall.

“Tonight after 8pm the results from the 6 polling locations will be transmitted.  We will transmit the results from the early voting tomorrow morning around 9am.  And then the mail ballot totals will be added once BOE finishes scanning them (Thurs/Fri).  That is when we will have unofficial final results,” Nelson wrote to What’s Up Newp.

In State Senate races, progressives are challenging all the Democratic leadership. Senate President Dominick Ruggerio of Providence is being challenged by Leonard A. Cioe, Jr.; Majority Whip Maryellen Goodwin of Providence is being challenged by Evan A. Lemoine; President Pro Tempore Harold Metts of Providence is being challenged by Tiara Mack; and Majority Leader Michael McCaffrey of Warwick is being challenged by Jennifer T. O’Rourke;