Race between Speaker Mattiello, Frias comes down to mail ballots

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CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) — Democratic House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello is in a tight race with Republican challenger Steven Frias that could be decided by mail ballots.

As it stands, Frias leads the race for R.I. House District 15 by 147 votes with 100 percent of precincts reporting. Frias earned 3,297 votes compared to Mattiello’s 3,150.

Independent Patrick Vallier took in 172, good for 3 percent of the votes.

Despite Frias’ lead, Mattiello declared victory Tuesday night, saying the mail ballots will put him over the top.

“I’m going to continue to work as hard as I can, I’m going to continue to serve every city and state interest that I can find to serve, and we’re going to continue to build a better economic foundation for the future,” Mattiello said. “We’re going to build the quality of life, we’re going to keep making our schools strong and better, because that’s the foundation of the future.”

Acting Board of Elections Director Bob Raposa said no mail ballots will be included until every one has been counted, which will not be completed until Thursday.

According to Raposa, there were 802 mail ballots requested in the district, but it’s not yet clear how many of those were actually sent in.

“I’m optimistic that I can get enough votes in the absentee ballots to pull out the win,” said Frias. “And right now, all I know is Speaker Mattiello got less than 50 percent of the vote in his district. I’m ahead, and we’re going to go to absentees and to overtime and we’re gonna see what happens.”

Mattiello had a major financial advantage over Frias in the race, spending roughly six times more money on his campaign. Mattiello highlighted his record and his ability to bring home the bacon in Cranston, while Frias focused on truck tolls and various scandals on Smith Hill.

House District 15 is located in Western Cranston, and is one of the most Republican-friendly legislative seats in Rhode Island.

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