Wednesday September 15, 2010

PITTSFIELD -- Tom Bowler was introduced as the "next high sheriff of Berkshire County" Tuesday night.

Bowler, who addressed supporters at the Crowne Plaza in Pittsfield around 9 p.m. Tues-day, announced that Dan Bos-ley, his Democratic rival, had just called him to concede the election. With no Republicans in the race, Bowler will be sworn in as sheriff on Jan. 3.

With 26 of 32 Berkshire towns reporting unofficial results, Bowler had 12,961 votes to Bosley's 7,128.Results for all 14 of Pittsfield's election precincts indicated Bowler had won more than 80 percent of the vote in the county's largest city -- or 6,128 votes to Bosley's 1,489. In Bosley's home of North Adams, he beat Bowler, 1,630 to 1,035.

Bowler, a veteran Pittsfield police detective, and Bosley, a veteran state lawmaker, en-gaged in a hard-fought battle to succeed Carmen Massim-iano, sheriff since 1978.

At the Crowne Plaza, as the lively crowd erupted into cheers for Bowler, an image of Massimiano lingered on a large television screen at stage right, prompting Bowler supporters to demand someone to shut off the TV. Massimiano appeared in a re-broadcast of a Pittsfield Licensing Board meeting on a local public access channel that also was announcing live election results.

"Can we get that TV off?" bellowed a male Bowler supporter standing on a chair inside the Crowne Plaza's large, packed banquet hall.


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As the image of Massimiano continued to create a distraction, more and more people voiced their displeasure.

"Pull the plug," another man shouted loudly, eliciting laughter from the audience.

Seconds later, the TV screen went dark -- and Bowler supporters went wild.

"I have to say this -- I can't say it as well as Eddie Murphy did [in the 1982 film "48 Hours"] -- but ‘There's a new sheriff in town,'" said Bowler, as the crowd rejoiced and broke into a chant of "Pudgy, Pudgy, Pudgy."

Pudgy, or Pudge, is Bowler's nickname. The former standout high school and college athlete, who dropped more than 25 pounds during his campaign against Bosley, vowed to seek out and personally thank supporters.

Bowler said the sheriff's race came down to "politics versus public service." And Bowler pledged to be a public servant, not a politician -- an allusion to Bosley, a state representative since 1987.

"Yes, there is a new sheriff in town, and he works for you," Bowler said.

Bosley said the results of the election spoke for themselves.

"That's a democracy," he said, adding that he phoned Bowler to congratulate him and to offer his support to the veteran police officer, who will oversee the Berkshire County Sheriff's Office and the County Jail & House of Correction.

"It is what it is -- the people have spoken, and that's the way it is," Bosley said of his loss.

Bosley said he would probably take today off, "then get right back at it" as representative of the 1st Berkshire District.

Bosley's last day on the job as a state lawmaker is Jan. 3, and he has no immediate plans for the future.

"I'll be looking for a job," he said.

To reach Conor Berry:
cberry@berkshireeagle.com;
(413) 496-6249.