PARIS — Oxford County Sheriff-elect Christopher Wainwright said Wednesday evening that it “feels good to win” and he’s happy he and his boss, Sheriff James Theriault, “ran a good, clean race.”
“He was a worthy opponent,” Wainwright said. “He and I work together, so I’m glad we were able to keep everything positive. It’s been humbling.”
Wainwright, a Republican from Canton, received 12,447 votes to 11,500 for Theriault, who lives in Rumford.
Theriault, a Democrat, was appointed acting sheriff early this year by Gov. Paul LePage to replace Wayne Gallant, a Democrat, who resigned Dec. 6, 2017. Gallant’s term was to end Dec. 31.
Theriault appointed Wainwright as his chief deputy after Hart Daley retired in March.
Wainwright said he will take over as the county’s chief law enforcer Jan. 1, 2019, but until then, “Jim is still in charge.”
“He’s still the sheriff, and I’m the chief deputy right now,” Wainwright said. “I’m sure we’ll work together to transition things over as it gets closer.”
Wainwright has served as a deputy sheriff with Oxford County for 28 years, spending 16 years in the patrol division and the past 12 with criminal investigations. Before being appointed acting chief deputy, he was a captain.
He also served 20 years in the U.S. Army Reserve, which included tours to Iraq in 2009 and Kosovo in 2002 as a police adviser.
Wainwright said in October that if he was elected sheriff, part of his focus “will be to regain the trust and confidence of the citizens of Oxford County by ensuring transparency and accountability,” and to try and “retain current staff and promote positive change.”
He said he wanted to combat the state’s opioid crisis by “emphasizing a multilateral approach that includes engaging the community and schools to spread awareness” and to “make sure that all involved — the public and law enforcement — know what resources are available to families in crisis.”