PARIS — Republican Christopher Wainwright fought off a major challenge from independent Justin Brown to eke out a victory and claim a second four-year term term as Oxford County sheriff.

With results received from every county municipality, Wainwright won with 50.6% of the vote, compared with Brown’s 49.4%. Wainwright held a 344-vote advantage out of 26,698 votes cast, for a grand total of 13,521 to 13,177.

“I am proud of the campaign we ran,” Wainwright said. “We stayed positive and focused on the merits of the last four years.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to continue to serve the citizens of Oxford County, and I look forward to the successes I know we will have as an agency moving forward,” he added.

Wainwright narrowly held off a tough challenge from Brown, who also works in the Oxford County Sheriff’s Office as a lieutenant in the Criminal Investigation Division. The 44-year-old said he wanted to rebuild morale in the department and restore the public’s faith and trust in the department.

“Transparency, as well as fair and equal accountability, are key to achieving these goals,” Brown said before the election. “By building morale, the turnover rate will decrease, saving taxpayers money. I would ensure we are current with training and regulations, promoting improvement of our deputies and working with other emergency services to provide a better public service.”

Wainwright, 51, has worked for the Sheriff’s Office since he was 19 years old. He said he was proud of the work done to increase the integrity, reputation and perception of the agency.

“On my first day, we updated the HR policy and procedure manuals that had been ignored for over 12 years,” Wainwright said before the election. “We improved our visibility and relationships within the communities, with other law enforcement agencies, and with mental health service centers as well.”

Brown led in early returns, winning big in Bethel and claiming victories in Norway and Paris. But Wainwright posted big wins in the Rumford area.

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