By Associated Press - Thursday, September 10, 2020

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - Races for mayors of four of Rhode Island’s largest cities sharpened Thursday - two days after the state’s primary - as officials finally released votes that were mailed in because of the coronavirus pandemic.

In Cranston, Democrat Maria Bucci defeated two primary opponents and will face Republican Kenneth Hopkins in the November general election. Longtime GOP Mayor Allan Fung was term-limited, opening the office to all comers.

In Central Falls, where the mayor’s office is nonpartisan, top vote-getters Maria Rivera and Joseph Moran both advanced to the general election.

In Pawtucket, Democratic mayor Donald Grebien defeated David Norton to advance, and in Warwick, incumbent mayor Joseph Solomon beat fellow Democrat Carel Bainum.

Election officials had said they needed more time to collect and tabulate mail ballots from drop boxes stationed around the state. A record number of Rhode Islanders voted by mail as a safe alternative because of the pandemic.

Some key top-of-the-ticket races were settled on election night, including U.S. Rep. Jim Langevin’s primary showdown with fellow Democrat Dylan Conley, which Langevin won. He’ll face former state lawmaker Robert Lancia, who won the Republican primary, in November.

In state legislative races, state Rep. Moira Walsh conceded defeat to high school principal Nathan Biah in a Democratic primary in Providence. Known for championing liberal causes, Walsh was a vocal critic of the House’s Democratic leaders. Shortly after she took office in 2017 she rebuked other lawmakers for drinking in the Statehouse.

Democratic U.S. Rep. David Cicilline had no primary opponent in his reelection bid in Rhode Island’s 1st Congressional District.

Democratic U.S. Sen. Jack Reed also sailed past the primary unopposed and will face Republican Allen Waters in November. Rhode Island’s other U.S. senator, Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse, won’t be up for reelection again until 2024.

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