Chief Deputy Hart Daley, right, responds to a question Sunday at a caucus of the Oxford County Democrats at First Congregational Church in South Paris. Lt. Mike Ward is seated next to Daley. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)
SOUTH PARIS – Oxford County Democrats named three candidates Sunday for Gov. Paul LePage to consider as he decides who will serve the remainder of Wayne Gallant’s term as Oxford County sheriff, which ends in November.
First elected in 2006, Gallant was in his third four-year term as Oxford County sheriff and had served as president of the sheriffs’ association since January. He resigned Dec. 6 after allegations surfaced that he had sexually harassed members of his department.
The three nominees to succeed Gallant: Chief Deputy Hart Daley, currently the acting sheriff; Lt. Mike Ward, currently serving on the Oxford Police Department; and Jim Theriault, who retired as Mexico chief of police in early 2014.
All nominees must come from the Democratic Party because Gallant won the sheriff’s seat as a Democratic. Once the names have been submitted to the governor, it is up to him to pick one, though his choice need not come from that list.
Daley and Ward were present at the caucus, and described how their time as sheriff would look.
Daley said that even if he were chosen to serve as interim sheriff, he will not be running for the position in November.
“I enjoy my position as chief deputy,” he said, “and I intend to assist whoever is elected.”
Ward said his goal is to be sheriff, and he has already begun arranging his campaign.
Both agreed on the issues: When questioned about their feelings on adults using marijuana, they replied that they will honor the will of voters.
“Whatever you as voters come up with is what we’re going to enforce,” Ward said.
Ward said he intends to conduct more outreach into the community, tackling issues such as the treatment of senior citizens in nursing homes.
Theriault was not present, but two residents spoke in his favor, saying he was excited about the position. It is not yet clear if Theriault plans to run for election in November.
Daley and Ward said they support Gallant’s stance on immigration. Gallant said in September he would not detain anyone if he believed it violated that person’s constitutional rights, which created backlash from the governor.
“Even with the horrible way things have happened,” Daley said, “(Gallant) was a great boss and I still have a lot of respect for that man.”