The Block Island Times

Gaffett re-elected as First Warden

Lacoste, Pike, Warfel and McGarry make up council
By Pippa Jack and Stephanie Turaj | Nov 08, 2012
Photo by: Kari Curtis

The results came in at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, when the state finished counting the island’s absentee ballots, and as in the national elections, incumbents prevailed.

About 970 people voted on Block Island, 200 of them by mail and 772 in person at New Shoreham Town Hall Tuesday. That meant 68 percent of the island’s roughly 1,450 registered voters participated in the election.

In-person votes are recorded locally; mail ballots are processed at the state Board of Elections, which was swamped by higher than usual demand by absentee voters thanks to less stringent rules for voting by mail.

It was a tense couple of days for candidates for the most hotly contested races, First Warden and Town Council, but preliminary results were borne out by the full results Thursday. New Shoreham First Warden Kim Gaffett will retain her seat, having received 113 votes more than challenger Howell Conant. Gaffett finished with 514 votes and Conant with 401.

Ken Lacoste, who ran unopposed, will take a seat as Second Warden, with 744 votes.

For the first time since 2006, no incumbents ran for Town Council. The three who won spots were Norris Pike, who received 596 votes; Chris Warfel, who had 482 votes, and Sean McGarry, who got 464. The three unsuccessful candidates were Bill McKernan, with 382; Les Slate, with 331; and Terry Mooney, with 300.

Local races

There were three candidates running for three School Committee seats. Ann Hall got 776, Bill Padien got 710, and Chris Willi got 646 votes.

There were two candidates running for Land Trust. Wendy Crawford received 751 and Denny Heinz received 713 votes.

Kay McManus received 740 votes for a seat on the Housing Board. Write-in candidate Shane Howrigan won 105 votes, so she will also join the board.

In the race for Moderator, Molly O’Neill won with 525 votes. Chris Blane garnered 214 and Fred Leeder 200.

Martha Ball, who was running unopposed for Assistant Moderator, received 802 votes. Vin McAloon, running unopposed for Town Sergeant, got 879 votes.

Cynthia Geer, also running unopposed for Tax Assessor, got 821 votes.

State and national

In the presidential race, island voters cast 664 ballots for Barack Obama, giving him almost 69 percent of the island vote, and 276 for Mitt Romney. Island voters also got behind Democratic incumbents in state and national races, with 72 percent for U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, 62 percent for U.S. Rep. James Langevin, 77 percent for state Sen. Sue Sosnowski, and 69 percent for state Rep. Donna Walsh.

Kay Lewis, chair of the Block Island Health Services Membership Committee, reports that 485 island voters or taxpayers cast ballots in the BIHS election. “There were 436 votes for Bill McCombe and 372 for Sue Hagedorn,” she wrote in an email.

Write-in votes can offer a window into voter feelings, from the serious to the silly. Ron Paul got three write-ins for President. Adrian Mitchell was proposed as our state Representative. Four names were put forward as First Warden alternates: Bob Gallant, Les Slate, Dr. Westchesterson and Mark Emmanuelle. The Second Warden race got the biggest variety of write-in names, with 16 different people proposed, including multiple votes for Norris Pike, Les Slate and Doug Michel. And for the Town Council, people wrote in Tim McCabe, Emmanuelle, Kay Lewis, Keith Lewis, Claire Costello, Dick Martin and Peter Baute.

The School Committee race sparked nine suggestions, including Lonnie Todd, Kathleen Mitchell, Roberta Closter, Pat Cobb and Molly O’Neil. Land Trust attracted six, including Mike Ballard, Joe Sprague and two for Chris Littlefield. Apart from candidate Howrigan, there were 11 write-ins for one Housing Board seat and nine for the other, including Kristen Bauman, Chris Warfel, Gail Pearce, Kevin Socia and Allan MacKay.

Bill McCombe, Gerald Zarella, Jim Hinthorn, Jon Grant, Margaret O’Neill, Doug Michel, Dick Martin and Mary Donnelly were all suggestions for assistant moderator. Suggestions for Town Sergeant included Tim McCabe, Adrian Mitchell, Chris Blane and Woody Woodpecker. One person thought Dan Fagan would make a good Tax Assessor.


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