Yvonne Gittelson continues run for Hampshire County Sheriff after primary loss

Daily Hampshire Gazette

Staff Writer

NORTHAMPTON — Days after finishing second in the Democratic primary for Hampshire County sheriff, Yvonne Gittelson has announced that she will continue her campaign as a write-in or sticker candidate for the Nov. 8 general election.

Gittelson also said she would invite corrections nurse Caitlin Sepeda, the third-place finisher to incumbent Sheriff Patrick Cahillane, to join her administration if elected.

“Since it was abundantly clear that the incumbent did not receive a majority of votes cast, Hampshire voters made their preference known,” Gittelson, the Hampshire County jail’s education coordinator from 2017-21, said in a statement on Thursday. “I believe they want this opportunity again, and in a two-person race, I am confident that we will demonstrate that the status quo is unacceptable.”

First elected in 2016, Cahillane beat back a challenge from two women who each spent several years working for his administration. Democrats nominated him for a second six-year term in Tuesday’s primary and he faces no Republican opponent; independent candidate John Vanasse, also a former Cahillane employee, announced a run for the job, as well, but has since dropped out of the race.

A Leeds resident, Cahillane collected 11,052 votes, or 48.1% of the total from 20 communities, according to Associated Press tabulations with about 96% of the votes counted. Gittelson, of Goshen, earned 6,117 votes, or 26.6%, and Sepeda, of South Hadley, claimed 5,817, or 25.3%.

According to the AP, Gittelson won the most votes in Chesterfield, Cummington, Goshen, Plainfield, Williamsburg and Worthington. Results were not available for Huntington or Middlefield on Thursday. Gittelson also picked up 2,194 votes in Northampton compared to Cahillane’s 2,848.

“Because this particular race was so compressed in terms of the first forum only happening one month ago, and momentum only seeming to gather in the last 10 days,” Gittelson wrote, “and because so many concerning issues were brought to light that still demand answers from the current administration, I have decided to continue my bid for the Sheriff’s Office by conducting a write-in/sticker campaign.”

Gittelson is the state education department’s corrections program specialist, responsible for educational programming in jails, prisons and some Department of Youth Services facilities. She has made inmate and detainee educational opportunities central to her pitch to voters.