By Tom Shevlin
NEWPORT – Turnout in Newport was exceptionally light in Tuesday's Presidential Preference Primary, as fewer than 600 people headed to the polls.
According to the state Board of Elections, 574 people, or roughly 3.4 percent of Newport's eligible voters, cast ballots at the city's three polling locations.
While Newport has roughly 17,000 registered voters, just 205 voted on the Democratic side for president, while 369 voted in the Republican contest.
Newport's anemic turnout numbers mirror other tallies seen throughout the state, where less than 4 percent of Rhode Island's 700,000 registered voters were estimated to have participated.
Mitt Romney, who had been widely expected to sweep the night's primary, did just that, earning 63 percent of the vote statewide, and 75 percent of the vote locally.
Ron Paul, whose campaign had targeted Rhode Island's proportional delegate system, placed second with 24 percent of the vote statewide, and 15 percent locally.
President Barack Obama, running unopposed secured 84 percent of his party's vote, with 14 percent uncommitted and the remaining 2 percent registering write-in ballots.
Meanwhile, in a bit of good news, Aquidneck Island will be well represented at this summer's GOP convention in Tampa, as six of the top eight vote-getters for delegate hailed from the area.
With all precincts reporting, John Robitaille and his wife, Lynda Adams-Robitaille, both of Portsmouth, earned the most votes in the state's CD1 delegate race; while state Rep. Daniel Patrick Reilly came in a close third. Jamestowners Robert J. Gallagher and Amy Lynn Gallagher were also in the top eight, as was Newport resident Barbara Ann Fenton.