Four candidates vying for the Dist. 49 seat vacated by newly elected Mayor Lisa Baldelli-Hunt have signature collection added to their holiday activities if they hope to compete in a Jan. 21 special election primary.
Though there's a special election scheduled for Feb. 25, all four declared candidates are Democrats, leaving the Jan. 21 winner unopposed for the seat.
RI Secretary of State A. Ralph Mollis has announced the candidates: Douglas T. Brown, Mark L. Chenot, Stuart Gitlow, and Michael A. Morin, all filing as Democrats. They'll obtain nomination papers on Dec. 18, and have until Dec. 24 —six days — to get 50 signatures of eligible voters from within District 49.
Gitlow, who ran against Baldelli-Hunt for the seat last year, expressed doubt that he would be able to collect the required signatures in time after declaring last week. However, he said, he still may run for the seat when Baldelli-Hunt's unfinished term is up in November.
Morin, who also ran against Baldelli-Hunt last year, said in a release that he has a commitment from the new Mayor to have a good working relationship. “I apologized to Lisa for the negative tone of my message last year,” said Morin. “She accepted my apology, and I along with many Woonsocket Fire Fighters, fully supported her efforts to become Mayor and assisted her campaign throughout the fall.”
Morin said he learned from his mistakes and wants to serve as State Representative to support Mayor Baldelli-Hunt’s agenda to turn the city around.
Douglas Brown, of 324 Harris Ave., is chairman of the Redevelopment Agency, an appointee of former Mayor Leo Fontaine. He has also worked as president of Keough Kirby Associates, Inc., an insurance agency, since 1988, according to a Valley Breeze article.
Chenot, of 400 Gaskill St., is a Physical Therapist at Rhode Island Hospital. He said he's been thinking about running for office and decided to go for the Dist. 49 seat when it opened. This is his first run at an elected office. "I'm a rookie," Chenot said. He said he'd like to help the community as a representative.
Chenot agreed there's a big hurdle to get 50 signature in a short amount of time to make it in the primary. Once he gets the papers after work Wednesday, he said, "I'll hit the streets."