ELIZABETHTOWN - The two candidates endorsed by the Essex County Republican Committee both claimed victories in a tightly contested Sept. 15 primary election, winning the right to run on the Republican Party line this November.
Incumbent Sheriff Henry Hommes defeated Michael "Ike" Tyler with 52 percent of the vote, 2119 to 1927 while Clinton County Assistant District Attorney Kristy Sprague defeated incumbent Essex County District Attorney Julie Garcia with 53 percent of the vote, 2312 to 2044.
Both Tyler and Garcia plan to remain in the race, taking part in the Nov. 3 general election, Tyler as an Independent and Garcia on the Democratic line.
Once the unofficial results were posted Tuesday night, Sprague said she wasn't surprised the race was so close. Ultimately, it was her experience that proved the difference in attracting more voters, she said.
"That's what I hope people will take into account in the general election," she said. "I think people will recognize that experience and how what I've done in the neighboring county can be done here."
Sprague said she expects another victory in November, especially since she has secured the Republican, Conservative, and Independent party lines. Still, she's not planning on slowing down her efforts.
"I plan on hitting every town in Essex County going door to door," said Sprague. "Now is the time we need to get behind each other, and I look forward to November 3."
Garcia said she was surprised by the small voter turnout. When she ran in 2005, more than 6,000 people turned out for the primary, compared to around 4,400 this year.
"I'm hoping that people stayed home because they are satisfied with the job we are doing," Garcia said. "We have bi-partisan support and a few weeks to straighten out the misrepresentations being made by my opponent's campaign."