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Colleen O'Neill projected winner in Jefferson County Sheriff race

Bocciolatt Campaign/O'Neill Campaign

Democrat Colleen O'Neill may become the first woman to be elected sheriff in New York state. O'Neill and Republican challenger John Bocciolatt ran a very close race for Jefferson Country Sheriff last night. With all districts counted, O'Neill inched ahead with a 670 vote lead.

But Bocciolatt is not conceding, and 1,500 absentee ballots still need to be counted.

Credit Julia Botero / WRVO
Democrat candidate for Jefferson County Sheriff Colleen O'Neill during her election night party.

In a speech at the Democrat headquarters in Watertown last night, O'Neill thanked her staff and says she is confident she'll be the next sheriff. 

"I'm going to serve," O'Neill said. "I'm going to work hard, and we are going to bring back the respect to the Jefferson County Sheriff's office that they deserve."

The Jefferson County Sheriff's Department has been troubled in recent years with allegations of sexual harassment.

Absentee ballots will be counted within the next few weeks. If O'Neill keeps her lead, she will be appointed Jefferson County sheriff in January.