Sheriff's race in a statistical tie, new poll shows

Oct 3, 2022

With a little over a month to go until Election Day, a new poll shows that the race for Bristol County Sheriff is neck and neck.

According to an internal poll conducted by Louis DiNatale of Princeton Research Associates, Republican incumbent Thomas Hodgson currently leads Democratic Challenger Paul Heroux 47% to 45% in his bid for a fifth term to oversee the county’s jails in Dartmouth and New Bedford.

The telephone survey of 407 likely voters was conducted Sept. 14 to 18, with a margin of error of 5%.

In addition to the statistical tie, the poll found Hodgson to have a nearly even split in his favorables — with 39% of respondents viewing the incumbent positively and 38% viewing him negatively.

​​The longtime sheriff has drawn national attention for his staunch support of former-President Donald Trump — even offering to send inmates to the US-Mexico border to help build Trump’s proposed border wall

He also served as the honorary chair for the former president’s 2020 re-election campaign in Massachusetts. Still, Hodgson has received prominent endorsements from outgoing Gov. Charlie Baker, along with former Massachusetts Attorney General Francis Bellotti, who is a Democrat.

Meanwhile, 33% of respondents viewed Heroux favorably and 18% unfavorably. The bulk of those surveyed, 41%, had “no opinion” or had not heard of the Attleboro Mayor.

Though unknown in the polls, Heroux did recently secure high-profile endorsements from Attorney General Maura Healey and Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll, the democratic candidates for governor and lieutenant governor respectively.

Healey has publicly clashed many times with Hodgson during her time as Massachusetts Attorney General, most notably finding that Hodgson had violated the civil rights of the federal immigration detainees during an altercation in May 2020 that left three detainees hospitalized.

Hodgson, meanwhile, contests that the tactics used were “by-the-book” and were necessary in order to regain control of the ICE facility, which he claimed the detainees started.

As a result of the report, the federal government closed down the Dartmouth jail’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention center in May last year.

Heroux did come under some fire from one of his primary opponents who condemned the Attleboro mayor for sending out what he claimed were negative mailers, despite Heroux saying he would not go negative. ​​According to Heroux, the mailer in question was a “just a contrast,” adding that the pact was to not use any personal attacks that would ruin their chances in the general election.

Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 8. Early voting for the state election will be between Oct. 22 and Nov. 4. The deadline to register to vote is Oct. 29.