The three-member Hancock County Commission has returned to a Republican majority just two years after Democrats captured the upper hand on the commission for the first time.
Republicans recaptured a second seat on the commission as a former longtime town councilor in Bar Harbor, Paul Paradis, prevailed in his race against Democrat Ian Schwartz. Paradis will be the first Republican to represent Mount Desert Island on the commission since 1992.
Paradis, who served on the Bar Harbor Town Council from 2006 to 2019, received 6,745 votes while Schwartz of Mount Desert received 4,648 votes. Schwartz serves on the county’s budget advisory committee.
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In addition to Paradis, Republican William Clark of Ellsworth, a current commissioner and former county sheriff, also prevailed Tuesday, defeating Democrat Rebecca Wentworth of Blue Hill by a 6,568-to-4,841-vote tally.
John Wombacher of Bucksport represents District 2 on the commission. His election in 2018 gave the board its first-ever Democratic majority. He was not on this year’s ballot.
District 3 on the commission has been represented by a Democrat since 1992, when Dennis Damon was elected to the three-seat board to replace John Jordan, a Republican from Mount Desert who opted not to seek re-election. Fellow Democrats Fay Lawson of Tremont and then Antonio Blasi of Hancock succeeded Damon on the commission.
District 3 on the commission consists of all of Mount Desert Island and nearby offshore islands, as well as Franklin, Hancock, Lamoine and Trenton.
Schwartz ran unopposed in the Democratic primary this past summer but his candidacy caused some alarm among fellow Democrats, who felt his political views were too divisive. Schwartz, a self-described socialist, has been critical on Facebook of what he calls “cop apologists” and has promoted on Facebook an anonymous blog with posts titled “America Always Sucked: Happy 4th of July!,” “The Impending Total Collapse of the United States,” and “F*** Bar Harbor Business Owners,” among others.
Paradis is expected to begin serving his three-year term on the commission in January. He will replace Blasi, who opted not to seek re-election in order to run for District 136 in the Maine House of Representatives. Blasi lost that bid on Tuesday, getting 1,569 votes while incumbent Billy Bob Fauklingham of Winter Harbor won reelection with 2,717.