Margaret Bartley, who led the Elizabethtown Supervisor race by nine votes after the Nov. 8 election with absentee ballots to be counted Nov. 16.
Incumbent Elizabethtown Supervisor Noel Merrihew III believes that a one-word response he made less than 24 hours before the polls opened Nov. 8 may have cost him his position.
That word was “yes.”
Merrihew suffered a loss in his quest for a sixth term as supervisor, receiving 217 votes, according to the unofficial results released by the Essex County Board of Elections, compared to 226 votes cast for challenger Margaret “Maggie” Bartley. There are currently 42 absentee ballots to be counted.
After the election, Merrihew said he felt the election may have swung on the vote he cast at the Nov. 7 Essex County Board of Supervisors meeting in favor of exploring the sale or leasing of the Horace Nye Nursing Home.
“I think the Horace Nye vote cost me 17 votes for sure,” Merrihew said. “I’m sure that was a factor, but if I had it to do over again, I would have cast that same vote today.”
Merrihew said he was confident that he made the vote in the best interest of the county, whether or not it would have cost him in the following day’s election.
Bartley said that she was thankful to her supporters and those who ran for positions in town government.
“My thanks goes to all the people who took on the task of running for office,” Bartley said. “Without willing candidates a Democracy can not work.”
Bartley said that her main focus was working with the residents of the town in plotting a future course.
“I'm excited about working with all of the people in our community to keep Elizabethtown moving forward,” Bartley said. “One of my first efforts will be to form four citizen committees to help review and make recommendations on improving our Golf Course, Parks & Trails, Town Beautification, and most importantly, Emergency Preparedness.”
Bartley said that she wanted those interested in helping to contact her at 873-9225 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
“I welcome all ideas and encourage volunteer efforts in making Elizabethtown an even better place to live,” she said.
Merrihew said that he felt the town was on solid ground as he prepares to leave office at the end of the year.
“I’m disappointed in the result, but I will bid adieu and move on and allow the transition of this new guard to hopefully continue on the solid ground that they are inheriting,” Merrihew said. “I want people to understand at the end of the year how solid the foundation of this town is.”
In the race for two vacated town council seats, Ben Morris received 285 votes, while James Phillips received 210 votes in earning spots on the council, ahead of candidates Evelyn Hatch (184) and Michael Doyle (157).
Michael Drew won an uncontested race for Highway Superintendent with 329 votes.