Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza Wins Democratic Primary, Supporters Say Ready For More Progress

Sep 13, 2018

About 80 supporters, friends, family members and volunteers for Elorza's campaign clapped and chanted "four more years" as the mayor wrapped up his victory speech during his election night watch party.

"I believe that once we are done, the city of Providence is going to be recognized across the country as the top, the premier, the marquee mid-size city in the entire United States of America," Elorza said. 

Elorza gave his speech on top of a small stage at Troop, a hip hop-themed restaurant in Providence.

He promised to continue efforts to improve Rhode Island’s capital city. Elorza also took a shot at President Donald Trump and his administration.

"I pledge, and I know everyone here pledges, to continue to be a counterweight against the forces of hate, against the forces of discrimination and against anybody who’s working to separate us or divide us," he said. 

Mayor Elorza gives a victory speech after polls close.
Credit Avory Brookins / RIPR

Supporter Anthony Santurri said it’s important to him to have a mayor like Elorza.

"I’m a member of the LGBTQ community and he has embraced us and his entire staff has, which I think is very important and much needed by all," Santurri said.  

Santurri added Elorza has also been receptive to the needs of nighttime business owners, such as himself.

"Mayor Elorza has really been very open and embracing to meeting with me and them on a regular basis to discuss the issues for the nighttime economy, why it’s important to our capital city, why these things will help make a capital city a destination city and world-class city," he said.

Supporters, friends, family members and volunteers for Elorza's campaign cram inside Troop in Providence.
Credit Avory Brookins / RIPR

Other supporters like Karen Feldman, executive director of Young Voices, an organization that teaches young people how to advocate for their communities, praised Elorza for improving the city’s schools and providing students with summer job opportunities.

"I think there’s been a strong commitment to young people and to putting things in place that’s going to help them to succeed," Feldman said.

Campaign volunteer Gabriela Mendez agreed that Elorza has bettered the city's schools. She added she also supports his controversial initiative to set up speed-cameras in school zones. 

"The community should focus more on our children’s safety than on the change because change is necessary when it serves a purpose," Mendez said. 

Zainab Giwa, who also volunteered for Elorza’s campaign, said she’s with the mayor for bringing culture into the city with his annual arts festival, PVD Fest.  

"One of the greatest things is that he involves the local businesses and really puts a spotlight on all of those small craft stores who may not have the money for advertising, giving them the opportunity to reach the mass of the population," Giwa said. 

Troop serves up Yucca fries during Elorza's election night watch party.
Credit Avory Brookins / RIPR

Elorza will now face two independent candidates, Jeffrey Lemire and Dee Dee Witman, in the general election this November.

Primary election results from the Rhode Island Board of Elections show Elorza defeated Democratic challenger Kobi Dennis by more than 7,800 votes and challenger Robert DeRobbio by more than 8,700 votes.