WEST BOYLSTON -- This time six years ago, in another Democratic sheriff primary, Guy Glodis was dancing to the tune of "I Shot the Sheriff" at Union Station in Worcester, as seemingly every town's return pointed to an upset of incumbent Sheriff John Flynn.
Last night, the acoustic guitarist set the tone around 9 p.m. with another Bob Marley tune, singing, "Don't worry about a thing, every little thing's gonna be alright."
There was a lot of time for worrying. From 8 p.m. until 10 p.m., Foley's guests at the Wachusett Country Club had few indications of how the election was going, other than grapevine news that it was too close to call. As reports trickled in, Foley kept a consistent lead of 1,000 to 1,200 votes -- the apparent nominee, but close enough that a landslide losses in a few unreported towns could change the result.
Foley kept his vigil until 2:30 a.m., waiting for all but a few precincts to report. By the end of the night, his campaign's unofficial count stood at 20,349 for Foley, 18,825 for Scot Bove, but Foley said he wouldn't declare victory officially until final numbers were reported later on Wednesday.
In remarks to his supporters much earlier in the night -- just before 10:30 p.m. -- Foley had acknowledged his slim lead in the polls and the tough challenge represented by Bove and by the Democratic winner's general election opponents, Republican Lewis Evangelidis and independent Keith Nicholas.
"I would like to have sent a very clear message, [winning] 4-1, but these are some very crazy times," Foley said. "This was a little tighter than I would have liked. ... I know the next run is going to be very, very negative. I'm still going to stay positive. I think qualifications should count."
Foley repeatedly said that of the two Democrats in the race, he was the one who took the high road and focused on issues and policies rather than personalities. He also chided the media.
"Get rid of the politics; let's deal with facts," he said. "I'm disappointed that people are listening to that spin out there. We're in such a cynical time that it's very difficult to run for office. Please take a second, wipe the B.S. off the top, and actually see what the positions are."
Leicester Selectman Thomas Brennan Jr., a Foley supporter, echoed the Worcester Democrat's assessment of his own campaign, saying Foley had run a "positive, upbeat campaign."
Later that night, Foley promised not to "engage in negative politics" during the general election campaign.