Smiley will be Providence’s next mayor after Democratic primary win

PROVIDENCE – Brett Smiley will be the city’s next mayor. 

Smiley, a top aide to former Gov. Gina M. Raimondo, defeated Gonzalo Cuervo and Nirva LaFortune in Tuesday’s Democratic primary. 

Smiley received 42% of the votes, according to The Associated Press. Cuervo, who has held leadership roles with the R.I. Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea and at City Hall under former Mayor Angel Taveras, garnered 36% of the votes and LaFortune, the Ward 3 city councilwoman, received 22% of the votes. 

Smiley will run unopposed in the Nov. 8 general election and will replace term-limited Mayor Jorge O. Elorza, who endorsed Cuervo in August. 

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“I have said throughout this campaign that I will be a mayor for the entire city, a mayor who stays focused on improving the quality of life in every neighborhood,” Smiley said in his victory speech, outlining priorities that included improving public schools, public safety and basic city services such as snow removal.

Both LaFortune and Cuervo called Smiley last night and conceded.  

“I wish him and our city the very best,” LaFortune said on Twitter. 

“Thank you to everyone who joined me on this remarkable journey, gave generously of themselves, and reaffirmed their love for our amazing city,” Cuervo said, according to WPRI-TV CBS 12. 

Smiley outspent his opponents significantly throughout the race and was the only mayoral candidate to run TV ads. 

He framed his campaign around a practical attitude to fixing infrastructure and city services, also highlighting his experience in personnel management and contracts.  

Cuervo’s similarly touted his experience in government and as a former small-business owner during his campaign, taking a strong stance on how to combat the inequities in income and housing access across the city. 

The three candidates have largely agreed on key issues in the city, including shoring up the city’s beleaguered pension system, addressing a lack of affordable housing and improving the city’s school system, which is under state control. 

Smiley previously ran for mayor unsuccessfully in 2014. He dropped out and endorse Elorza, who won the race.