NORWAY — Republican Jennifer Dilworth appeared to have the early lead in the two-way race for Oxford County Register of Probate during Tuesday’s general election. 

Early results showed a slight lead by Dilworth of Norway over her opponent Carol Gutekunst, a former deputy register of probate with a 4,321 to 3,616 vote. But neither candidate was ready to announce victory.

“No matter what happens, I’m so thankful for all the support I’ve received,” said Dilworth in a phone interview close to 10:30 p.m.

A few results started trickling in after 9 p.m. giving Dilworth an early lead with 1,950 to Gutekunst’s 1,784 with Bethel, Magalloway Plantation and Norway reporting their numbers.

Close to 10 p.m. Paris reported Dilworth with 1,252 votes and Gutekunst tallying 1,070 votes. At 10:30 p.m. Oxford’s unofficial numbers were released showing Dilworth still in the lead with 1,119 votes to Gutekunst’s 762 votes.

Gutekunst and Dilworth, who both live in Norway, were seeking a four-year term to succeed Bruce Rood, who did not seeking re-election.

“I don’t know,” Gutekunst said late Tuesday evening. “I gave it my best shot. I don’t know what to say. I was ready to come back and help the county that the goal.”

Gutekunst started working in the probate office in 1987 until her appointment as deputy register in 1994. She retired from that position in 2008 after serving the county for more than 30 years, 20 of them in the Probate Office. She said the position should be appointed.

“If someone applied for the job, the requirements would be experience and knowledge in the probate field, and I have that,” Gutekunst said in an interview last week.

Dilworth said at that time that she believes the register of probate should remain an elected position so that the person remains accountable to the public.

The Oxford County Probate Court has jurisdiction over estates and trusts, adoptions, name changes and guardianship and conservatorship proceedings, according to its website. The register of probate is responsible for preparation and recording court records. The register serves part time under the Judge of Probate.

Incumbent Dana Hanley, running unopposed, appeared to have won re-election as the Oxford County Judge of Probate.
The Oxford County Commissioner District 1 race between incumbent Steven
Merrill and challenger Charleen Chase was too close to call at press time, with the two candidates less than 30 votes apart.

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