ELIZABETHTOWN - Henry Hommes has been the Essex County Sheriff for 12 years. Now, it appears he will have the chance to add four more.
Unofficial election results released Nov. 3 showed Hommes with a commanding lead over his two independent challengers with nearly 55 percent of the total vote.
The final tally credited Hommes with 5,280 votes. Westport town councilman Michael "Ike" Tyler came in second with 3,086, and former Wilmington town justice Robert Kirby third with 1,319.
"I think it speaks for itself; that I must be doing what the people want," said Hommes. "I'm very appreciative of the support I've received tonight and over the past 12 years."
The convincing victory for Hommes parallels his win over Tyler in the Republican primary. There, he claimed 54.2 percent of the vote in a two-way race.
Tyler continued to run as an independent, but could not pull enough voters away from Hommes. He did put forth strong showings in Elizabethtown, Moriah, and Westport, however.
Tyler could not be reached for comment at the time of this report.
Kirby, another independent, was also able to draw many of the voters who were seeking change. Though he had significant support in Wilmington and surrounding communities in Keene and Jay, it was not enough to challenge the incumbent.
"Naturally, I'm disappointed," said Kirby. "I believe that we have some serious problems at our sheriff's office, and I presented some very specific solutions to them."
Kirby said he had felt a positive response from people he met throughout the county, but admitted his self-funded campaign may not have allowed him to reach enough people.
"Although the end result was not what I'd hoped for, it was still a positive experience overall and I'm grateful to have had the opportunity to run," he added.
The wide margin of victory for Hommes means he has no reason to doubt his re-election. Less than 1,200 absentee ballots have been issued county-wide.
"We will continue to do the job we've been doing of trying to keep the burden of the tax rolls off the backs of the taxpayers," Hommes said.