Correia Hangs On to Remain in Fall River Mayoral Race
FALL RIVER — Despite facing a litany of federal charges, incumbent Mayor Jasiel Correia is moving on to the final election for Mayor of Fall River.
Candidate Paul Coogan was the clear favorite in the primary with 8,273 votes for 62.3-percent of the unofficial final tally. Correia took home 2,777 votes for 20.9-percemt, just outpacing activist Erica Scott-Pacheco by 600 votes. Scott-Pacheco brought in 2,171 votes for 16.3-percent.
Voters in Fall River hoping to oust Correia, who was arrested on September 6 for the second time in less than a year on federal extortion and bribery charges, will turn to Coogan in the final election this fall.
WBSM News caught up with Mayor Correia at LePage’s Seafood and Grill, his campaign headquarters for the night, as he was being congratulated by a room full of supporters. Correia says the results of the primary are because of his recent arrest and pending federal indictments levied against him. He says “the government has certainly tried” to ensure he loses his re-election bid.
“The government has certainly tried, as you can see from the results tonight, to make sure that I don’t win and that I am separated from government as much as possible, despite the good things and the good job we’ve done here in the City of Fall River,“ said Mayor Correia.
“I don’t think there’s in American politics and history that the government has, on the day of an election, brought people into the courthouse and had reporters tweeting about it while people were going to the polls. I mean, that’s a low blow. That’s something that is just so outrageous because you have to keep in mind that I am presumed innocent, and I am innocent. So, to try and create so much havoc in such a manner that is unbecoming of what it is to be an American, to say that people are innocent until proven otherwise and then bring people in on the day of an election.”
The 11-count indictment alleges that Mayor Correia extorted marijuana vendors seeking to do business in the city for hundreds of thousands of dollars in exchange for the required paperwork from to open up shop. Correia is also alleged to have extorted his own Chief of Staff, Gen Andrade, forcing her to pay him half of her $78,000 annual salary to obtain and keep her job. On Tuesday, 58-year-old Fall River resident Hildegar Camara, agreed federal court in Boston on Tuesday to testify against Correia when he goes to trial. Camara was arrested along with three others, including Andrade, as accomplices in Correia’s crimes.
Correia was first arrested in October of 2018 on a 13-count federal indictment charging him with defrauding investors in the SnoOwl app he created out of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Prosecutors allege Correia began his spree of extortions as way to pay for his mounting legal bills in the SnoOwl case.
As for the November election, Correia says beating Coogan will require him gaining back the trust of voters dissuaded by what he calls ‘the uncertainty of his pending legal battles.’
Correia says Tuesday’s primary came down to three things:
“One, I have to get those votes back to the polls, the people that voted for me tonight. Number two, I have to make sure the 75-percent of people that didn’t come to the polls come out to the polls, because a lot of people stayed home. We know that in a regular election, a general election, about 50-percent more than tonight will show up. That’s a big amount of votes on the table that didn’t show up for myself of my opponent, so I have to go out and grab those,” Correia said.
“And the final group, which I really really believe in, is a lot of people who voted for my opponents tonight had voted for me in the past. Those people changed their mind along the way, I think because of the uncertainty of the situation. But I think if I look them in the eye, shake their hand and let them ask me any question they want, that many of those people will come back and vote for me in November.”
The final election in Fall River is slated for November 5.