ELLSWORTH, Maine — For the first time since the two-county prosecutorial district was created nearly 40 years ago, a lawyer without any experience as a prosecutor has been elected as district attorney for Hancock and Washington counties, according to unofficial voting results tallied by the Bangor Daily News.
With 81 of 90 voting precincts in the two counties reporting by Wednesday evening, Matt Foster, an Ellsworth resident in private practice, led Bill Entwisle by more than 4,000 votes. Foster had 20,735 votes to Entwisle’s 16,361, amounting to a lead of about 11 percentage points.
Foster is a Republican. Entwisle is a Democrat from Sedgwick.
Foster said Wednesday in a brief voicemail message that he is enthusiastic and eager to move into the district attorney’s office.
“I’m really excited and just thrilled at the turnout and results in the election,” Foster said. “I’ve got to close up my [private] practice and get ready to start [in January].”
Entwisle said Wednesday that he is disappointed in the outcome but feels he clearly articulated his case to the voters
“Throughout the campaign, I always knew voters were paying close attention,” the assistant district attorney said. “They’ve made their choice.”
He added he is grateful for the support he received and said Foster has a big responsibility in front of him.
“I’ve given my congratulations to Matt,” Entwisle said. “I wish him well.”
Entwisle ran on his 11 years of experience as a prosecutor, first under former District Attorney Michael Povich and for the past four years under outgoing District Attorney Carletta “Dee” Bassano.
Povich was the county attorney for Hancock County before the two-county prosecutorial district was created in 1975. Povich then held the position of district attorney for the two counties until he retired at the end of 2010.
Foster ran as an outsider who said he would try to reform the office, which he argues has lost the confidence of the public. He said disciplinary action that Assistant District Attorney Mary Kellett faced last year, when the Maine Board of Overseers of the Bar determined she violated bar rules, demonstrated the district attorney’s office for the two counties has been poorly managed.
Foster ran against Bassano in the general election in 2010 and lost by 635 votes.