MACHIAS, Maine — After eight tumultuous years in office, it appears Donnie Smith has been defeated in his bid to be re-elected the sheriff of Washington County, according to unofficial results tallied by the Bangor Daily News.
With 45 of the county’s 49 voting precincts having reported their results Wednesday evening, Barry Curtis of Cherryfield had more than a 1,800-vote lead over Smith. The former state trooper had 7,356 votes to Smith’s 5,494. Curtis is a Republican while Smith, a Lubec resident, is not enrolled with any political party.
Attempts Wednesday to contact Curtis and Smith were unsuccessful. Smith was not expected to be in his office for the rest of the week, according to his staff.
Smith, who was first elected sheriff of Washington County in 2006, has been a polarizing figure in the eight years he has held the position.
He has openly feuded with the Maine State Police, Maine Drug Enforcement Agency, Ellsworth Police Department, Maine Sheriff’s Association, Washington County commissioners and the District Attorney’s office for Hancock and Washington counties, to name several of the agencies and organizations he interacts with as part of his job.
He has at times threatened to arrest officials he is feuding with and, on other occasions, has filed or threatened to file lawsuits against other agencies. He also has been on the receiving end of similar lawsuits and threats of legal action.
One such lawsuit was filed against Smith two weeks before Election Day by more than a dozen former sheriff’s department employees, who assert Smith violated their privacy rights earlier this year by releasing department personnel records that were inadvertently publicized for a brief time by the Bangor Daily News, which obtained the information from the Maine secretary of state’s office.
In a separate matter, a Trescott woman has notified Smith of her intent to sue him over an Oct. 8 school bus incident in Lubec. Deborah Bousquet alleges she was wrongfully arrested and assaulted by Smith after they each responded to reports of a confrontation on a school bus. Smith alleged Bousquet assaulted him, but she later was charged by the district attorney’s office with disorderly conduct and obstruction of government administration, not with assault.
Smith and his supporters have said the former employees’ lawsuit and Bousquet’s complaint were politically motivated and timed to have the maximum impact on Tuesday’s election.