Democrat Paul Heroux declares victory over longtime Sheriff Thomas Hodgson in Bristol County

“I think that with Hodgson having been there for 25 years, with the constant controversies, people are just ready for change.”

Paul Heroux and Thomas Hodgson Debee Tlumacki for the Boston Globe

Democrat Paul Heroux declared victory early Wednesday morning in the race for Bristol County Sheriff against longtime incumbent Sheriff Thomas Hodgson. 

Hodgson, a fervent supporter of former President Donald Trump who has served as sheriff since 1997, has conceded, according to multiple media reports. 

As of 8:30 a.m., about 80 percent of votes had been counted, according to the Associated Press, which has not yet called the race. 

Heroux, the current mayor of Attleboro, campaigned on bringing change to the county, citing his experience as a former state representative and working in both the Philadelphia Prison System and the Massachusetts Department of Correction. He has promised to only serve two terms if elected, and said he will focus on reducing reoffending through rehabilitation, measure the programs to ensure they work, and make the county’s jail a “modern national model” for transparency. 


Meanwhile, Hodgson, who has been criticized for his harsh treatment of inmates and been at the center of controversies over the years including once offering his inmates for labor constructing Trump’s southern border wall, focused on his reputation as a “tough on crime” candidate. 

In 2021, the Biden administration cut ties with Hodgson, terminating contracts Immigration and Customs Enforcement had with the sheriff’s office to house undocumented immigrants and perform some immigration enforcement duties, citing “unacceptable” treatment of detainees.

Last week, he faced backlash for an ad that critics described as antisemitic, which the sheriff denied. 

“I think that with Hodgson having been there for 25 years, with the constant controversies, people are just ready for change,” Heroux said after declaring victory, according to The Public’s Radio

Hodgson conceded around 1:15 a.m. on Wednesday.

“This has been a great run for me,” he said, according to The Public’s Radio. “Twenty-five years as sheriff the people of this county have given me their trust and their honor to serve, and I couldn’t be more grateful. It’s now time to turn the page for the people of the county as they decided they want it to be this way.”


This discussion has ended. Please join elsewhere on Boston.com