Baldelli-Hunt relishes primary victory
WOONSOCKET, R.I. —
Rhode Island state Rep. Lisa Baldelli-Hunt scored a landslide victory over Woonsocket Mayor Leo Fontaine in the city's mayoral primary.
Baldelli-Hunt has been eyeing the mayor's office for a while. Her uncle was mayor for four years in the 1980s, and she set up a runoff with Fontaine by garnering more votes than all three of her opponents.
Baldelli-Hunt's triumph spilled over into her mood Wednesday as she relished a victory larger than she expected and says she has a plan to bring the city back.
"We have not had a serious approach to economic development in the city of Woonsocket," Baldelli-Hunt said.
Fontaine acknowledged the voters' rejection. NBC 10 News tried to talk to him Wednesday, but his assistant twice said he was in a meeting.
The mayor wasn't to be found in his City Hall office, but NBC 10 was able to speak with his economic development officer, Mat Wojcik.
The financially strapped city is under the control of a budget commission, which Wojcik said limits the power of elected officials.
"When she really starts to fully comprehend just how complicated this is and how narrowly defined all of our options are, I anticipate she may feel some frustration when she really starts to put together what her real options would be," Wojcik said.
Voters don't appear to be understanding of the mayor's lack of power. Baldelli-Hunt's decisive victory over Fontaine with three times as many votes is a clear sign of the anger against the incumbent.
The non-partisan election is Nov. 5.