Cahillane easily wins reelection as sheriff

  • Hampshire County Sheriff Patrick Cahillane celebrates with his wife, Barbara Cahillane, right, and Susan Maguire as results come in Tuesday at the Northampton Country Club. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • GAZETTE FILE PHOTO GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 11/9/2022 9:04:12 PM

NORTHAMPTON — While no official call had yet been made in the Hampshire County sheriff’s race as of Wednesday afternoon, vote totals from most cities and towns showed incumbent Patrick Cahillane easily winning a second six-year term.

First elected in 2016, Cahillane earned the Democratic nomination in a three-way race in the state primary in September, prevailing over two challengers who had spent several years working in his administration.

On Tuesday, he turned back a challenge from one of them, Yvonne Gittelson, formerly the education coordinator at the county jail, who ran a write-in campaign in the general election.

“I am grateful for the support I received during the campaign and I’m eager to continue working hard to help keep Hampshire County safe for all residents,” Cahillane said in a statement issued by his office.

“It seems pretty clear that he has won this,” Gittelson said Wednesday. “The write-in barrier was just insurmountable and as a first-time candidate, I did not have the experience needed to effectively answer that.”

A sampling shows that challenge. In Northampton, more than 75% of the votes went to Cahillane, who earned 9,180 votes to 2,785 for Gittelson, out of 13,716 total votes cast. In Amherst, Cahillane’s percentage was 87%, with 6,027 votes going to him and 860 for “all others,” out of 7,948 votes cast.

In her hometown of Goshen, where 518 of 794 voters, or 65% cast ballots, Gittelson trailed with 98 votes to 313 for Cahillane, and in Chesterfield, where 657 of 990 voters, or 66% cast ballots, Cahillane beat Gittelson 421-89.

Farther afield, Gittelson fared even worse, with Cahillane taking 94% of the vote in South Hadley, 95% in Belchertown and 99% in Granby. In South Hadley, Cahillane took in 5,463 votes to 330 for the “write-in,” out of 7,258 votes cast. In Belchertown, 6,876 voters, marking a 58.1% turnout, gave Cahillane a 4,818 to 228 edge. In Granby, where 2,899 of 4,970 voters cast ballots, for a 58% turnout, Cahillane earned 1,909 votes to 16 for Gittelson,

In Hadley, Cahillane secured 1,922 votes, to 188 tallied by Gittelson, and in Hatfield 1,298 votes went to Cahillane and 128 to Gittelson, out of 1,743 votes cast.

This week’s election marked the culmination of a race Cahillane entered in March to remain in charge of the sheriff’s department and the Hampshire County Jail and House of Correction at 205 Rocky Hill Road.

Cahillane, 64, who declined to make himself available for additional comment, cited numerous accomplishments during the campaign, including that he kept operations open throughout the pandemic, and launching the jail’s medication-assisted treatment program for opioid-addicted inmates, offering methadone and Suboxone on-site.

His goals are to continue and expand several social service programs offered to pretrial detainees and inmates, and restore volunteer positions that were lost due to public health restrictions.

Gittelson said her campaign raised important issues. “I think we did a lot for voter education about what the role of the Hampshire sheriff could be, and what has or has not been happening in the facility,” Gittelson said.

After his primary win, Cahillane gave credit to the staff for the quiet work it does in terms of both outreach to the community and offering wraparound services to inmates.

Cahillane has worked at the jail for 35 years, holding positions from correctional officer to deputy superintendent and special sheriff. He earned a master’s degree in criminal justice administration from Western New England University in Springfield.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at smerzbach@gazettenet.com.
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