One of the most hotly contested state races in Rhode Island was the State Senate Dist. 26 race between Democrat Frank Lombardi and Republican Sean Gately.
The two men traded barbs throughout the campaign. Gately led a fiery campaign that leveled numerous attacks against Lombardi based on his time on the Cranston School Committee. Lombardi responded by labeling Gately as the bringer of negative rhetoric and baseless attacks.
On Monday, less than 24 hours before polls opened, Lombardi said someone tore down and vandalized some large campaign signs and told "whoever participated and trespassed on Cranston residents' properties" they need to realize thiskind of behavior is unnecessary and unacceptable" before telling his supporters to "let's go win this thing!"
Lombardi ended up with 6,658 votes. Gately finished with 3,800.
Lombardi said last night that he was ecstatic to have won and believes that his campaign, which focused on highlighting his ideas and beliefs, was more appealing to voters.
"I wish my opponent well," Lombardi said. "Voters are tired of negative politics and they're tired of the negative campaigns. I think that was shown here tonight."
During the campaign, Gately accused Lombardi of poor leadership for his role on the School Committee in regards to the recent ban on father-daughter dances, a review of the policy allowing Cub Scouts to recruit in the school and accusing him of trying to block any chance at privatizing the school bus fleet, which a recent report said could save the district $8.5 million over the next decade.
He also highlighted Lombardi's campaign finances, more recently for campaign contributions Lombardi received from the school bus driver's union and one of Lombardi's friends, Ben Scungio — a lawyer who has represented the School Committee.
While Gately's arguments gained traction among many voters, his campaign faced an uphill battle against the better-organized and financed Lombardi campaign. Lombardi comes from a family that knows a thing or two about elections — his brother, John, is a former Providence mayor — and the Lombardi campaign utilized a large get out the vote network that kept the race from being a close one on Election Day.
Gately congratulated his Lombardi for what he said was a "well deserved victory."
"I wish him well," he said.
For complete election 2012 results .