Waldo County voters decided to stick with what they knew when it came to the race for county sheriff, re-electing incumbent Republican Sheriff Jeff Trafton by a comfortable margin.
It was the first contested race for the office in decades, with Trafton campaigning against independent challenger John Gibbs, a longtime sergeant with the Belfast Police Department.
“I’m humbled and I’m really grateful to all the folks who supported me,” Trafton said Wednesday morning. “Folks did have a choice. That’s one thing this race did. Folks did have a choice.”
Gibbs had run on a platform of change, saying that he would take a careful look at how certain institutions, especially the Maine Coastal Reentry Center in Belfast, were run. Trafton emphasized the work he has done over his four-year term as sheriff in supporting the center and in his office’s focus on domestic violence.
On Wednesday morning, Gibbs wrote a post on Facebook conceding the race and sent the BDN a message about it from his position in a tree stand in Monroe, where he was deer hunting.
“I’m pretty happy in life and everything happens for a reason,” Gibbs wrote. “It’s a beautiful day. This is my path, and I like it.”
According to Trafton, he will continue to strongly support the re-entry center, the Waldo County garden project, Waldo County Triad, which works to improve the safety of residents over age 50, and the ongoing work to combat domestic violence.
“I’m 100 percent behind these programs,” he said. “That stuff is shifted into high gear and we’re moving forward. We’re feeling really good and happy. Glad to be getting back to work.”