ELLSWORTH — Two open seats on the Hancock County Commissioners board resulted in two contested races this year. The results are in, with incumbent Republican Bill Clark of Ellsworth re-elected to his District 1 seat and Republican Paul Paradis of Bar Harbor winning in District 3.
In District 1, Clark defeated Democratic challenger Rebecca Wentworth of Blue Hill with 6,568 votes to Wentworth’s 4,841.
“I’m pleased that I won, but I’m as pleased that Paul [Paradis] is going to join us,” said Clark, a retired sheriff and the current board chairman.
Clark said that Paradis’s election will make the board “the dream team,” due to the board’s knowledge and willingness to work together. The third member of the board is John Wombacher, a Democrat from Bucksport representing District 2. His seat was not up for reelection this year.
Clark said during his next term he hopes to make the position of county treasurer an appointed position rather than an elected one, due to the qualifications needed to manage a large, countywide budget.
District 1 includes Ellsworth, Great Pond, Otis, Amherst, Aurora, Blue Hill, Fletchers Landing, Gouldsboro, Mariaville, Osborn, Sorrento, Waltham, Surry, Waltham and Winter Harbor.
In District 3, Paradis defeated opponent Ian Schwartz, a Democrat from Mount Desert, with 6,755 votes to Schwartz’s 4,658, with all towns reporting.
“I’m humbled by all the support I got and am looking forward to it,” Paradis said of his victory and upcoming work as a county commissioner.
While Paradis said he has a lot to learn about the job, he noted, “My expertise is in budgeting, and I hope to bring some of that [to the board].”
Paradis owns Paradis’ Ace Hardware in Bar Harbor and is a former town councilor, serving for 13 years.
District 3 consists of Bar Harbor, Cranberry Isles, Franklin, Frenchboro, Hancock, Lamoine, Mount Desert, Southwest Harbor, Swan’s Island, Tremont and Trenton.
Schwartz was the only candidate on the ballot in the July primary, while Paradis ran as a write-in candidate and received enough votes to make it onto the general election ballot in November.
The county commissioners “oversee the operation of county government…[and] are ultimately responsible for the fiscal operations and policy decisions affecting county government,” according to the Maine County Commissioners Association. County offices include the district attorney, treasurer, emergency management, registry of deeds, registry of probate, Hancock County-Bar Harbor Airport and the Sheriff’s Office.
In the race for county register of probate, Juliette Wilbur of Ellsworth won with 24,010 votes. Wilbur is a member of the Hancock County Republican Committee and Hancock County Women’s Committee. She worked at the Hancock County Probate Court from 2016 until 2019 and currently works at the District Attorney’s Office, according to her campaign’s Facebook page.
“I am pleased with the results of the election and want to thank all of the voters, poll workers and poll watchers for their work. I look forward to serving the citizens of Hancock County,” Wilbur said.
Wilbur was challenged by declared write-in candidate Velma Jordan of Waltham, who lost to Wilbur in the July Republican primary election by 328 votes. There was not a Democratic candidate.
Jordan is currently the deputy register of probate working under Gail Coughlin, the outgoing register of probate, who did not seek re-election. Jordan received write-in votes in many Hancock County municipalities, including 460 in Ellsworth, 44 in Blue Hill, 26 in Mariaville, 69 in Bar Harbor and 90 in Trenton.