ELIZABETHTOWN - The town of Essex could have a new supervisor this January.
Ronald Jackson, the current supervisor, came out 14 votes behind his challenger, Sharon Boisen, according to counts taken from polling places on Election Day Nov. 3. Boisen had 153 votes to Jackson's 139.
If Boisen wins, it could mean a political power-shift, not only in the town, but county-wide. Jackson, now in his eighth year as supervisor, is currently vice-chair of the Board of Supervisors, and would traditionally be slated to become chairman of the body in 2010.
Jackson also chairs the board's Ways and Means Committee as well as the Essex County Republican Committee, though he would be able to continue in the latter post regardless of re-election.
Boisen, who ran as an independent, has never held an elected office before, but has been involved at the town level on various project committees in recent years.
"I'm thrilled with the current result, and I'm looking forward to being town supervisor," she said, crediting much of her success to a hardworking group of supporters. "People really want to see some changes."
Jackson reacted optimistically toward the initial count, noting that roughly 50 absentee ballots are still out for Essex residents and could potentially close the gap.
"It's still within the realm of possibility," he said. "Either way, it's been an honor being supervisor for eight years. If I get two more years, that's great. If I don't, it's been an honor being supervisor."
Other races were much more favorable to the incumbent. In Westport, supervisor Daniel Connell was elected to a fifth term, defeating challengers Bruce Ware and Bruce Dunning by a wide margin.
According to unofficial results, Connell led with 404 votes; Ware came in a distant second with 187, while Dunning claimed 38.
A similar outcome emerged in Willsboro, where incumbent Lori Lincoln-Spooner defeated her predecessor, Robert Ashline, 458 to 229.