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Five reasons why Jon Brien thinks his write-in campaign will be different

September 20, 2012

WOONSOCKET – State Representative Jon Brien, upset by Democrat Stephen Casey in the September 11 primary, was unable to provide an answer this morning when asked to cite the last successful write-in candidate for the General Assembly. He instead turned for inspiration to the write-in won two years ago by Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.

But Brien, a conservative Woonsocket Democrat, believes his just-announced write-in bid will be different. “I think the political stars have aligned on this,” he said following a news conference outside Pepin Lumber on Cumberland Hill Road.

Here are some of Brien’s reasons for hope:

1) The presidential election in November will bring many more voters to the polls than during the low-turnout primary. (Brien, who voted for John McCain in 2008, acknowledges some irony in the idea that he could be helped by voters coming out to support President Obama; he said he hasn’t decided who he’ll vote for in November.)

2) The hotly contested CD1 race between Brendan Doherty and David Cicilline will also stimulate interest in voting, with Doherty expected to fare well in the conservative-leaning Blackstone Valley.

3) There’s not a Republican candidate to siphon part of the vote; Brien pointed to how his friend and former fellow Rep Doug Gablinske of Bristol “probably would have won” a 2010 write-in campaign if there hadn’t been a GOP candidate. Brien says the Republican in that race got about 1500 votes, Gablinske about 1600, and the winner, departing Rep Richard Morrison, 2200 votes.)

4) The November ballot will be simpler and less cluttered than in years with a series of races for state general offices.

5) Brien lost the primary to Casey, a Woonsocket firefighter, by a thin margin — 52 votes. 

“This is our chance to get it right,” Brien told a few dozen supporters during his announcement. He touted himself as a strong advocate for taxpayers and small businesses in Woonsocket.

The Woonsocket lawyer said he walked every street in the district and did not take the primary race for granted. Brien blamed his loss on a series of factors:

— Being targeted by labor;

— Suffering from a local perception that he would win; he says there was a late rush of support for Representative Lisa Baldelli Hunt because of a view that “she was the one in trouble.” 

— “An administrative error” that sent some voters to the wrong voting place. “I dont know exactly how much that accounted for the results, but it accounted for some,” Brien says.

Casey couldn’t be immediately reached for comment.

10 Comments leave one →
  1. Patrick permalink
    September 20, 2012 6:28 pm

    If he thinks he was targeted by labor in the primary, wait to see how they target him in the general. People just need to connect a line against him.

    What’s the rule here for a succesful write-in vote? Is “Breen” acceptable? Is “Brein” acceptable? “Brean”? “Brene”?

  2. Mister Guy permalink
    September 21, 2012 5:44 am

    When someone loses a primary election & then immediately decides to run in the general election as a write-in or “independent” candidate, it speaks volumes as to how that person views voters in general. It means that they view voters as stupid people that can’t decide for themselves who should represent them. In other words, the candidate is saying to the voters:
    “Trust me, you really need to elect me, it’s for your own good.”

    Get over yourself Mr. Brien…the voters have spoken…you lost.

  3. buddyball permalink
    September 27, 2012 2:53 am

    Vote Brien. The Choice is clear.

    • Mister Guy permalink
      September 28, 2012 1:37 am

      …it is indeed, and the choice is between someone that’s a spoiled, little brat because he lost an election fair & square and the guy who actually beat him…lol…

  4. Jonathan Jacobs permalink
    November 5, 2012 9:42 pm

    Jon can yell “do over” all he wants. Being targeted by organized labor means that the labor put into revealing the truth about his ties to ALEC and 38 Studios was organized made accessible information to the voters who voted in favor of change.

    Corporate interests dumped ten times as much last minite funding into Brien’s primary campaign as labor donated to Casey. Brien can whine and stomp his feet all he wants, but I don’t think the people of District 50 are going to fall for hos chicanery.


  1. Mollis’ office says last successful legislative write-in was in 1990 « On Politics
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  3. Brien charges his primary opponent was ineligible due to a Hatch Act violation « On Politics
  4. Casey calls Brien’s Hatch Act complaint without merit « On Politics
  5. Casey ruled eligible to run by US Office of Special Counsel « On Politics

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