Bristol County Elects New Sheriff as Heroux Defeats Hodgson
UPDATE: This article has been updated to include a chart of the vote tallies in each reporting municipality as of 1:30 a.m. Wednesday.
The votes are in, and for the first time since 1997, Bristol County will have a new sheriff.
Attleboro Mayor Paul Heroux has defeated longtime incumbent sheriff Thomas Hodgson with an estimated 51% of the vote in a close race that was likely the most-watched in Massachusetts this election season.
Hodgson conceded the victory after 1 a.m. on Wednesday, after most municipalities reported unofficial election results that gave Heroux a more than 4,300-vote lead.
It was a tight race, but Heroux was handed a commanding lead by residents in New Bedford, who cast 12,508 ballots for him over 7,922 for Hodgson — a difference of more than 4,500 votes.
Other cities and towns in the county reported much closer election results, with Fall River going for Heroux by just over 1,200 votes, Taunton choosing Hodgson over Heroux by nearly 600 votes, and Heroux winning his home city of Attleboro by only a 1,005 vote gap.
As of 1:30 a.m. Wednesday morning, Heroux had tallied a total of 86,628 votes to Hodgson's 82,269, defeating the incumbent sheriff 51.3% to 48.7%.
Hodgson, a Republican and vocal supporter of Trump, faced off against the Democrat Heroux in often highly contentious debates that brought up controversies in both camps.
The sheriff has recently come under fire for alleged ethics violations, the death of a high-profile inmate earlier this fall, and a lawsuit from former detainees alleging that he violated their civil rights.
Meanwhile Heroux was denounced by the other side for making what a state department deemed 'coercive comments' to a city employee.
Heroux announced his candidacy in January and defeated attorney Nicholas Bernier and former Somerset Police Chief George McNeil in the September primary to take on the sheriff.
He holds three master's degrees, including one in criminology from UPenn, and became well known for taking his terminally ill dog on a cross-country road trip in 2018.
Hodgson has held the seat as sheriff for 25 years, and ran unopposed in his last election to a six-year term in 2016.
In 2020 he was appointed as honorary chair of then-president Trump's re-election campaign in Massachusetts, and caused waves by offering Bristol County inmates to help build the wall at the Mexican border.