Johnston remained a Democratic town, with the party winning all of the contested local seats during Tuesday's vote.
Mayor Joseph Polisena secured a fourth term, incumbent Rep. Deb Fellela won a second term to the Rhode Island House Dist. 44 seat, and Council President Robert V. Russo celebrated a tenth election victory.
In the races where no incumbents were running, Stephen Archambault won Johnston in the newly-expanded RI Senate Dist. 22, and Planning Board Chairman Anthony Verardo won in Town Council Ward 2.
Mayor's Race: Polisena victorious
In the second straight contest between incumbent Mayor Joseph Polisena and Republican challenger Peter Filippi III, Polisena nailed down a decisive win, gathering 9,424 votes to Filippi's 2,520, a 79-to-21 percent margin.
Polisena told the attendees at Johnston Democratic headquarters that the race "was a choice between my record and Mr. Filippi's criminal record," referring to the Republican's two prior arrests.
During a follow-up interview, Polisena said he saw his victory — as well as the approval of all three local referenda items — as a vote of confidence in his handling of the town's budget, and a directive to continue on that path.
"People sent us a message, loud and clear: 'Yes, we want you to go forward, borrow the money, spend our hard-earned tax money wisely, [and] invest it back in the town — don't blow it on stupid stuff, do what you have to do to make sure the roads we travel on are safe and they're rideable,'" Polisena explained.
Town Council: Russo wins tenth term, Verardo wins first
By a 3-to-1 margin, Russo claimed a tenth two-year term on the town council.
The Ward 4 incumbent took 1,794 votes to challenger Robert Matteo's 634.
On the opposite end of the council experience spectrum, Verardo defeated Independent Melvin Steppo for a first term, 1,279 to 908.
Even as a first-term councilman, though, Verardo brings a background of 12 years' work on the town's planning and zoning boards.
"We did a lot of good for this town [on the two boards], and I felt that if I can get on the council I can do a lot more for the town," Verardo explained during an interview after the announcement of results.
Local Questions: 3-for-3 in favor
On the Johnston ballot were three referenda items, including requests for two bond issues totalling $5 million.
The results were:
- Term limits for mayor: 8,575 for, 3,299 against
- $4 million for road repairs: 9,472 for, 2,350 against
- $1 million for open space: 7,052 for, 4,563 against.
General Assembly: One incumbent, two new Democratic members
The Democratic sweep continued through the General Assemby balloting, as Rep. Deborah Fellela defeated Independent Karin Gorman 3,713 to 2,008, according to the Rhode Island Secretary of State's results website.
In her victory speech, Fellela thanked her "union brothers and sisters, because they were there and came out for me."
During the campaign, Fellela had dozens of signs around town proclaiming support from nurses, teachers, and other labor groups.
After defeating incumbent Peter Petrarca in the September primary, Gregory Costantino secured Johnston's portion of House Dist. 44 with a 623 to 356 win over Republican James Archer.
By 10:45 pm Tuesday, Costantino led Archer, 2,720 to 1,592 in Smithfield and 1,045 to 693 in Lincoln.
And Stephen Archambault took Johnston's portion of Senate Dist. 22 by a 163 to 64 tally over Richard Poirier. Archambault also won in North Providence by a 2-to-1 margin, and held a 5,061 to 3,894 lead in Smithfield.
Federal races: All-Democratic victories up-ticket, as well
Johnston voters provided victories to President Barack Obama (7,117 to 5,716 over Mitt Romney), U.S. Sen Sheldon Whitehouse (7,133 to 4,590 over Barry Hinckley), and U.S. Rep. James Langevin (7,026 to 4,292 over Michael Riley).
Watch JohnstonPatch for more from Tuesday's election, including video, later today.