Aquinnah will have new leadership on two town boards after Tom Murphy edged out challenger Adrian Higgins for a seat on the select board, and challenger Kathy Newman narrowly ousted incumbent Jim Glavin on the board of health.

Hugh Taylor came to the polls Thursday in top-down style. — Ray Ewing

The results were tight for both closely contested races in the smallest town on Island, closing out a political season that saw multiple surprises as voters sided with change both down-Island and up.

With three candidates vying for one seat on the town select board, Mr. Murphy, an attorney and businessman, defeated challengers Adrian Higgins, an engineer, and Nancy Slate, an artist.

Mr. Murphy received 97 votes, Mr. Higgins received 75 votes and Ms. Slate received 6 votes.

The seat on the select board opened up after six-term selectman Jim Newman announced his retirement earlier this spring. Mr. Newman had served 18 years on the board.

In a nail-biting race for board of health, challenger Kathy Newman defeated incumbent Jim Glavin, 88-81. Ms. Newman, a retired psychologist, is the wife of Jim Newman and serves as Aquinnah’s appointed representative on the Martha’s Vineyard Commission.

Mr. Glavin had served on the board of health for nine years prior to Thursday’s election.

League of Women Voters stood outside the Gay Head Community Baptist Church. — Ray Ewing

Turnout was strong throughout the day, with enthusiastic voters streaming into the old town hall from noon until 8 p.m. Of the 404 registered voters in the town, 179 hand-cast ballots in the town’s historic wooden voting box,  a 44 per cent turnout.

The town’s vote counters finished hand-counting ballots just after 9 p.m. as darkness fell over the town hall on a misty Thursday night.

“Aquinnah just made history,” resident Richard Skidmore said outside town hall. “We had an election.”

In uncontested races:

Katherine Olsen was elected to a three-year term as library trustee with 148 votes.

Berta Welch was elected to a three-year term on the planning board with 150 votes.

Sarah Thulin was elected to a three-year term on the land bank commission with 124 votes.

Heidi Vanderhoop was elected to a three-year term as town constable with 9 write-in votes.