Glenn Hearn Is Elected to West Tisbury Board in Startling Upset Win

By JULIA WELLS

In a stunning upset that rocked the old guard political network on the Vineyard, Glenn Hearn ousted four-term West Tisbury selectman Cynthia Mitchell in the annual town election yesterday, beating her by just 20 votes in a tight race that drew a huge crowd of voters.

Mr. Hearn defeated Mrs. Mitchell 461-441. A total of 914 voters turned out to cast ballots at the new public safety building on State Road in North Tisbury - 49.4 per cent of the 1,847 registered voters.

"Holy mackerel, I am kind of speechless. I know I've got to work hard to live up to my campaign promises," Mr. Hearn said when the count was completed just before midnight last night.

"I deeply appreciate the support I have had over the last 12 years and I wish Glenn Hearn all the best," Mrs. Mitchell said.

Mr. Hearn is a high school math teacher who first came onto the political scene in 1999 when he beat incumbent land bank commissioner Sherman Goldstein in a close race.

Mr. Hearn was also re-elected to the land bank commission yesterday and Mrs. Mitchell was re-elected town treasurer.

Mrs. Mitchell was first elected selectman in 1990 when she beat longtime incumbent Fred Fisher. Three years later she easily survived a challenge from Ellen O'Brien and in 1996 she ran unopposed. In 1999 she won easily again over challenger Jonathan Revere.

But Mrs. Mitchell ran into some political trouble late last year when she became involved in a series of volatile issues around the Steamship Authority. Mr. Hearn threw his hat in the ring and the race was on.

The weather was sunny and springlike for election day yesterday, and the two candidates for selectman were visible all day, surrounded by their supporters. West Tisbury selectman John Early was Mrs. Mitchell's campaign manager. Selectman John Alley supported Mr. Hearn.

"It certainly was a close race, hard fought on both sides," said Mr. Alley last night. "The voters have clearly signaled that they would like a breath of fresh air. I am quite pleased and I look forward to working with Glenn Hearn starting tomorrow," he added.

Mr. Early could not be reached for comment.

Mr. Hearn thanked his campaign committee, especially Barbara Day and her husband, Robert.

"I had a wonderful campaign committee - they did a lot more work than I did, and I think they want to continue working for the town," he said.

In the only other West Tisbury contest yesterday, Hermine Hull and Linda Hearn, who is married to Mr. Hearn, won terms as library trustees over George Hough 3rd. Ms. Hull was an incumbent.

Voters also approved five Proposition 2 1/2 override questions, including $335,000 for the Up-Island Regional School District operating budget, $75,000 for the regional high school operating budget, $10,000 for a study to expand the town library and $45,000 for the town's share of a new ambulance.

The following candidates were elected without a challenge:

Patrick Gregory, town moderator; Eric Lowe, board of health; Stanton Richards, board of assessors; Brent Taylor, tax collector; Prudence Whiting, town clerk; John G. Gadowski, tree warden; James Powell, Alexander DeVito and Peter Costas, finance committee; Timothy Maley, constable; Virginia Jones, planning board; Lisa Amols and Bruce Keep, park and recreation committee.

Town clerk Prudence Whiting was the top vote-getter with 794 votes.