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Patrick Cahillane wins Democratic primary for Hampshire County sheriff

  • Patrick Cahillane, left, speaks to his supporters Thursday at Union Station in Northampton after learning he was elected as Hampshire County sheriff. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Patrick Cahillane hugs his wife, Barbara, Thursday at Union Station in Northampton after learning he had won the Democratic primary for Hampshire County sheriff. GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Patrick Cahillane speaks to his supporters Thursday at Union Station in Northampton after learning he was elected as Hampshire County sheriff. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Patrick Cahillane, right, speaks to his supporters Thursday at Union Station in Northampton after learning he was elected as Hampshire County sheriff. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS



@mjmajchrowicz
Tuesday, September 20, 2016

NORTHAMPTON — Patrick Cahillane clinched the Democratic nomination for Hampshire County sheriff Thursday night with a commanding 58 percent of the vote.

Countywide, Melissa Perry finished with about 36 percent, or 4,836 votes, and Kavern Lewis captured roughly 5 percent, ending up with 684 votes.

In his native Northampton, Cahillane claimed 2,006 of his 7,763 votes countywide, according to the city clerk’s office.

Complete results here.

Cahillane will face off against Republican David Isakson in November’s general election.

By around 9 p.m. Thursday, it was official. Partygoers gathered around a poster board at Union Station in downtown Northampton displaying the vote totals.

Cahillane waved and smiled and thrust his left fist into the air as he addressed the cheering crowd.

“I couldn’t have done this without everybody in this room, and there’s a whole bunch of people who aren’t here tonight,” Cahillane said. “This is not about me. It’s about the way we think in Hampshire County. It really is.”

Since he launched his campaign in May, Cahillane has touted his three decades of experience working at the Hampshire County Jail and House of Correction where he currently serves as assistant superintendent and special sheriff — effectively Sheriff Robert Garvey’s second-in-command.

Garvey, who has occupied the top county law enforcement post for 32 years, announced in February he would not seek re-election. Garvey has been lauded as a progressive leader inside the walls of the jail, particularly when it comes to the establishment and implementation of inmate programming.

Cahillane has said on the campaign trail that, if elected, he would prioritize sustaining and advancing educational and vocational programs for inmates.

“When you look at the individuals we house and try to treat, they’re coming back to our community,” Cahillane previously told the Gazette. “The question that voters should ask,” he added, “is what kind of person they want released back into society? A person who helps out or a person we live in fear of?”

After the polls closed, supporters and colleagues of Cahillane celebrated with him at Union Station.

“He really believes in a team philosophy,” said Mindy Cady, assistant deputy superintendent. “I think that’s what comes across most about him. He’s a team player.”

Cady emphasized Cahillane’s varied experience at the facility, with the nominee having worked virtually every type of job there as he climbed the ranks.

“He’s tremendously motivated, and that’s a remarkable thing when you look back at a career of 30-plus years,” she said.

Area voters sung Cahillane’s praises earlier Thursday, ahead of the results.

James Royer, 74, of Northampton said that for him, Cahillane was the clear pick for the job, adding that Garvey’s endorsement of the candidate was important.

“It seems to me there are three candidates — one of whom is eminently qualified, one who is eminently not qualified, and one who is seemingly qualified but has no experience in law enforcement,” he said of candidates Cahillane, Lewis and Perry, respectively.

Back at his party Thursday evening, Cahillane was asked “what’s next?”

“I’m going to work tomorrow morning,” Cahillane said.

Gazette staff writer Sarah Crosby contributed to this report.