HUDSON — Election results are not yet official, but it looks as though there will be a new sheriff in Columbia County.
Unofficial results from the Columbia County Board of Elections have Don Krapf, 49, leading incumbent David Bartlett, 60, 10,781 votes to 8,902 votes as of Wednesday morning. The race for Columbia County sheriff was one of the most contentious this year.
Krapf, a former registered Republican, ran on the Democratic and Columbia United Independent party lines. Bartlett ran on the Republican and Conservative party lines.
A post made on Bartlett’s campaign Facebook page Wednesday morning thanked his supporters.
“Thank you to the nearly 9,000 voters who cast their ballots for me in this year’s election. I truly appreciate your support,” Bartlett wrote. “Unfortunately, we came up short in this race — my final run for elective office. I was never a politician and the electoral process was my least favorite part of the job. But it is how we elect the sheriff so it is what it is.”
Krapf also thanked voters and supporters Wednesday morning.
“I’m feeling fantastic,” Krapf said. “I’m elated by the people’s support, by everyone coming out to the polls. It’s an honor to have been able to even run in this county and represent the people of Columbia County. I’m absolutely elated.”
Krapf said some of his first priorities as sheriff will be to rework the training in the department.
“We need to revamp the training, Krapf said. “We need to get in there and do a lot of introspection with the department. Start getting back on track and serving the community in a manner that’s going to best serve them and give them a voice. One of the first things we need to do is just get in there and start cleaning things up.”
A lot of community outreach was made through the campaign, Krapf said. It is a direction he wants to continue in.
“I think we need to start from the bottom, start building with small building blocks,” Krapf said. Getting the things that have fallen between the cracks, in the prior administration and just start bringing the professionalism, and honor and integrity back to the office, and giving the tools to the deputies that they need to succeed, and building leadership for the next election cycle.”
A former registered Republican, Krapf is now a registered NOP, or No Party Preference, because it’s important to take politics out of the sheriff’s office, he said Wednesday.
“I believe it has no place in a law enforcement office, especially the county sheriff,” Krapf said. “Even though it’s an elected position I think it should be as non-political as possible and driven by the needs of the community, not by political values.”
Krapf said the Democrats reached out and offered their endorsement and their beliefs are based primarily in community, training, integrity and transparency, which he said align with his own campaign values.
“Columbia County is a very special place,” Krapf said. “It’s like no other place I’ve ever been, it’s a very strong-knit community and I think the sheriff’s office has to be a part of that community.”
In his post, Bartlett added he was proud of the work he had done as sheriff over the past eight years and with the sheriff’s office for the past 37 years.
“I’m truly grateful for the brave men and women who I’ve served alongside. From the bottom of my heart, thank you to all those who put their faith in me over the years,” Bartlett said.