ELLSWORTH, Maine — The current deputy district attorney for Hancock and Washington counties seemed poised Wednesday to take over for her boss when he leaves office at the end of the year.
With 97 percent of voting precincts in the two counties reporting their unofficial results, Carletta “Dee” Bassano of Ellsworth held a 692-vote lead Wednesday afternoon over Republican Matthew Foster. Bassano had a total of 14,087 votes while Foster had 13,395. Steve Juskewitch, an independent running for the same office, was in third place with a total of 9,340 votes.
Bassano said Wednesday afternoon she has been “humbled” by the experience of running for public office, which she had never done before.
“I never thought I would [run for public office],” Bassano said. “The support I’ve gotten in Hancock and Washington counties has been amazing to me.”
Bassano said she has not had any discussions with the current staff in the district attorney’s office about who might stay but said she hopes there is little if any turnover.
“You build on experience. You don’t eliminate it,” she said.
Neither Foster nor Juskewitch could be reached Wednesday afternoon for comments about the election.
Hancock County made the difference for Bassano, who led Foster by 688 votes in the more populated of the two counties. Bassano received 9,426 while Foster had 8,738 and Juskewitch had 6,469 in Hancock County.
In Washington County, where more than 12,000 voters cast ballots in the county’s 50 voting precincts, Bassano garnered only four more votes than her Republican counterpart. She received 4,661 votes while Foster received 4,657 and Juskewitch received 2,871.
Bassano prevailed in Washington County’s larger towns, including Baileyville, Calais, Eastport, Jonesport, Lubec and Machias. Foster received more votes in western Washington County, winning the towns of Addison, Cherryfield, Columbia, Columbia Falls, Harrington, Milbridge and Steuben.
Bassano won Hancock County despite losing Ellsworth, the largest municipality in the district, to Foster, who grew up in Ellsworth. Foster received 1,419 votes in the city to Bassano’s 1,185. Juskewitch, who lives in neighboring Dedham, received 616 votes in Ellsworth. Dedham, where Juskewitch received 442 votes, was the only municipality in the two counties where the independent won the most votes.
Bar Harbor came through big for Bassano, giving her a 500-vote advantage over her opponents. The prosecutor received 1,098 votes in Bar Harbor while Foster received 584 and Juskewitch received 580. Bassano won every town on Mount Desert Island, while Foster won several eastern Hancock County towns, including Eastbrook, Franklin, Gouldsboro, Hancock, Lamoine, Sullivan, Trenton and Winter Harbor.
Bassano will replace outgoing District Attorney Michael Povich, a Republican, who has served as the top prosecutor in the two-county district since 1975. Povich decided not to seek re-election this year.
He ran instead for Maine House District 38 — a seat formerly held by his late brother, Democrat Eddie Povich — but was defeated by Democrat Louis Luchini. Luchini, an Ellsworth resident as is Povich, received 2,290 votes while Povich received 1,950. House District 38 is contains Ellsworth, Otis and Trenton.