Rhode Island State House

Nearly 20 percent of the candidates who filed to run for the state House of Representatives are running unopposed, according to the Secretary of State’s Office, with all but one a Democrat.

In the state Senate, only two candidates are running unopposed, one Democrat and one Republican.

Political parties had the option to appoint candidates to run for offices in which no candidate from their party declared during the declaration period last week, but that deadline has now passed, according to John Marion, executive director of Common Cause.

Of all 16 uncontested elections, all, except one, are incumbents. The lone outlier is in House District 74, where newcomer Alex S. Finkelman, a Democrat, is running unopposed in a district that includes Jamestown and Middletown. Finkelman is running for the seat that is occupied by Deb Ruggiero, who is running for lieutenant governor. Finkelman, 36, is president of an insurance/employee benefits company, The Egis Group in Warwick.

Among those who are getting a “free ride” are three Democratic Aquidneck Island legislators – Terri-Dennis Cortvriend, District 72 – Middletown and Portsmouth, who serves as second vice chair of the House Small Business Committee; Marvin Abney, District 73 – Middletown and Newport, who serves as the House Finance Chair; and Lauren Carson, District 75 – Newport, the House Deputy Majority Leader.

The Senators who are unopposed are Ana B. Quezada, D-Dist. 2, Providence, and the Senate’s Deputy Majority Whip, and Jessica de la Cruz, R-Dist. 23, representing Burrillville and Glocester. de la Cruz had announced her candidacy for the second Congressional seat but dropped out of that race. She is the Minority Whip.

Here are the other legislators, all incumbents and all in the House, who are running unopposed:

  • Nathan W. Biah, D-Dist. 3 (Providence).
  • Scott A. Slater, D-Dist. 10 (Providence).
  • Jose F. Batista, D-Dist. 12 (Providence).
  • Thomas E. Noret, D-Dist. 25 (Coventry, West Warwick)
  • Sherry L. Roberts, R-Dist. 29 (Coventry, West Greenwich) and senior Deputy Minority Leader
  • Samuel Azzinaro, D-Dist. 37 (Westerly), and chair of the House Veterans’ Committee
  • Stephen M. Casey, D-Dist. 50 (Woonsocket), and chair of the House Health and Human Services Committee.
  • William W. O’Brien, D-Dist. 54 (North Providence)
  • Joshua J.D. Giraldo, D-Dist. 56 (Central Falls)
  • Karen Alzate, D-Dist. 60 (Pawtucket)

The next important deadline for candidate is to pick up their nomination papers on July 6 and return the papers by July 15.

Frank Prosnitz

Frank Prosnitz brings to WhatsUpNewp several years in journalism, including 10 as editor of the Providence (RI) Business News and 14 years as a reporter and bureau manager at the Providence (RI) Journal. Prosnitz began his journalism career as a sportswriter at the Asbury Park (NJ) Press, moving to The News Tribune (Woodbridge, NJ), before joining the Providence Journal. Prosnitz hosts the Morning Show on WLBQ radio (Westerly), 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. Monday through Friday, and It’s Your Business, also on WBLQ, Monday and Tuesday, 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.

Prosnitz has twice won Best in Business Awards from the national Society of American Business Editors and Writers (SABEW), twice was named Media Advocate of the Year by the Small Business Administration, won an investigative reporter’s award from the New England Press Association, and newswriting award from the Rhode Island Press Association.