ST. ALBANS — After a heated campaign between two longtime police officers, Franklin County voters elected Democrat Roger Langevin to replace Robert Norris as Franklin County Sheriff.
Langevin defeated Republican candidate Thomas Oliver by a narrow margin – 9,106 to 8,884.
In another closely watched county-wide race, attorney Vaughn Comeau defeated Robert Farrar to become probate judge.
The race for Franklin County Sheriff was expected to be one of the county’s more competitive races, pitting two well-known police veterans against one-another for a seat vacated by Norris, who announced his retirement earlier this year.
Langevin, currently the St. Albans Police Department (SAPD)’s School Resource Officer attached to the St. Albans Town Educational Center, ran on bringing the SAPD’s more information-based approach to policing to the county level and on bringing newer ideas to the sheriff’s department.
He faired best in the western part of the county, winning narrow victories in Swanton and Georgia before carrying St. Albans Town and City by a hefty margin.
Oliver, meanwhile, had campaigned on his 29 years of experience in the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office (FCSO) as well as a guarantee of continuity in the office following Norris’s retirement.
The FCSO’s Chief Deputy, Oliver also ran with the endorsement of many who work in the sheriff’s office, including Norris.
Oliver found most of his support in the northern and eastern parts of the county historically served by the FCSO.
The exception was Montgomery, a traditionally more politically Democratic and Progressive town that favored Langevin by 19 votes.
Enosburgh-based attorney Comeau edged out Farrar by only 265 votes to become probate judge.
“It was closer than I would have liked, but I’m glad we won in the end,” Comeau said Wednesday morning.
Comeau, a relatively younger candidate who ran as a Republican after losing the Democratic nomination in the primaries to Farrar, won with 8,962 votes. Farrar, of St. Albans, won 8,697 votes, with most of those votes coming from the St. Albans area.
As a candidate, Comeau accepted the Republican write-in nomination after supporters encouraged him to continue running.
“I felt it was important that Franklin County has the best qualified probate judge,” Comeau said. “My supporters felt that I was the most qualified and encouraged me to run.”
Comeau will be succeeding Larry Bruce, a three-term probate judge first elected in 2006.
He told the Messenger he intends to keep his legal practice in Enosburgh open.