ATHOL -- With the election-machine votes counted soon after the polls closed Tuesday night, Evelyn Wood, 33, is close to becoming the youngest Thurman supervisor in history, and she's likely to be the second woman ever to hold the post.
Wood, who lives on her great-grandparents homestead off Elmer Wood Road with her husband and two young children, received 235 votes to 214 votes for Thomas "Tuck" Birdsall on Election Day.
The results aren't conclusive because about 45 absentee ballots are outstanding.
Wood said she was pleased with the results.
"I'm happy I managed to pull it off," she said, noting she had been campaigning under a disadvantage that she was on the ballot as an Independent rather than as a Republican, her party affiliation. Republican candidates generally enjoy a hefty advantage in conservative northern Warren County.
The timing of the resignation of former town Supervisor Red Pitkin in July blocked a Primary race, so Wood launched her campaign as an Independent, and Birdsall, who is town G.O.P. committee chairman, voted in caucus with the other sole committee member Ed Binder, and the two endorsed Birdsall to appear on the ballot as the endorsed Republican. Birdsall, a farrier, is the town's chief Assessor.
Wood said that she was happy that voters looked beyond the traditional age and gender stereotypes and gauged her candidacy on its own merits. She is known to delve into issues and keep well-informed -- since announcing her candidacy, she has attended virtually all county meetings to acquaint herself with government issues. She's been going to all town meetings for well over a year.
"I think we have a lot of forward-thinking folks here in Thurman," she said. "When I was campaigning, people seemed ready for new ideas and a new approach -- they were really receptive."