PORTSMOUTH, R.I. (WPRI) — A special primary election was held in Portsmouth Tuesday to decide who will square off to fill the state Senate seat left vacant by retiring Sen. Christopher Ottiano.
The preliminary results show Democrat James Seveney of Portsmouth and Republican John Pagliarini, Jr. of Tiverton won their respective races to advance to the special election Jan. 5.
The results will be finalized Wednesday when mail-in ballots are counted.
Sen. Ottiano announced plans to step down in October, saying he wants to focus on his new job as Associate Medical Director of Neighborhood Health Plan.
Despite being a Republican, Ottiano last week threw his support behind Seveney, rather than any of the three Republican hopefuls.
Seveney, a Portsmouth town councilor, has also won the endorsement of the town’s Democratic Town Committee. He faced off against two other Democrats in the primary, former Portsmouth Rep. Amy Rice and Tiverton Town Councilor Brett Pelletier.
Along with Pagliarini, two other Republican candidates vied for the nomination – Tiverton Town Councilor Joan Chabot and Ken Mendonca of Portsmouth. The Portsmouth Republican Town Committee stayed neutral in the primary, unlike its Democratic counterpart.
In addition, there is an independent candidate, Gregory Blythe of Portsmouth.
Ted Nesi contributed to this report.