The wave that Democrats rode into office across the country, in New England and in Rhode Island also splashed through Cranston last night.
Perhaps the happiest man in the city last night was Cranston Democratic City Committee Chairman Michael Sepe.
"The voters clearly sent a message to the mayor that they want checks and balances," Sepe said. "People don't want a one-party system."
Voters did apparently want the Democrats to maintain — actually expand — their majority on the City Council. They now have seven of the nine council seats and all Democrats facing challenges this year won reelection.
In Ward 1, Steve Stycos kept his seat by more than 2,500 votes, easily defeating challenger Michael Glucksman. In Ward 3, Paul Archetto got more than twice the votes of challenger Nicholas Lima.
In an interview, Lima said he congratulates Archetto for the victory and said his opponent ran a good campaign.
"I learned a lot," Lima said, noting he spent a lot of time talking to voters during the campaign and knows that Archetto had to do the same. As a result, he knows Archetto got an earful from constituents and has to work hard to deal with Ward 3's issues.
"There are the rat issues, the crime and quality of life issues," Lima said. "Ultimately, the council has to work together to deal with the issues. Once the elections are over, the council has to come together."
The Republicans, who used to have three seats on the council, now have two. One is by Mike Favicchio, who hang on to his Ward 6 seat by defeating Stay DiCola by just 295 votes.
He will be joined by Don Botts, who picked up Ward 2 with just 306 votes more than Joseph Rhodes. Botts, who stopped by the Democrats post-election party at 39 West last night, said he was saddened to see the people he ran alongside fail to win their seats. That made it hard to be overly happy about his win, he said, but he was pleased to win none the less.
"I can't remember the last time there was a Republican in Ward 2, so that's good," Botts said.
Botts said he will work hard to reach across the aisle and work with the Democrats to solve the city's problems.
"We'll work it out. We'll work together," Botts said. "Getting the city on the right track is the priority."
Cranston Mayor Allan W. Fung said he was disappointed with the election results, but he is used to working with a Republican minority on the council, so the new makeup of the council isn't going to pose a huge change in terms of running the city. He believes the Democratic surge across the country and New England made it harder for local Republicans. And Republicans tend not to do well during Presidential elections here in Rhode Island, he said.
"I'll continue to work hard for the residents of the City of Cranston," Fung said. "I'm ready to hunker down and continue to working to keep taxes low and move the city forward."
In Ward 4, Mario Aceto returns to the council after losing his bid for a citywide seat in 2010. He won with 3,543 votes, defeating Mark Collins who netted 2,830 votes.
Richard Santamaria fended off a challenge from newcomer Chris Paplauskas, winning 3,017 to 2,528 votes. Paplauskas ran a spirited campaign that started early this spring and made his name a familiar one along the city's streets as his sign count was among the highest.
In the citywide race, Republicans lost big. Incumbents Jim Donahue and Leslie Ann Luciano both lost their seats, finishing fourth and fifth respectively. The winners: Michael Farina with 15,018 votes, John Lanni, who finished with 12,380 votes and Sarah Kales Lee, who finished with 11,356.
The lowest vote getter was Robert Pelletier, who netted 7,250 votes. Pelletier ran as an Independent.
For full election results, check out our story HERE.
This story was updated at 8:18 a.m.