Lincoln County Chief Deputy Ken Mason has obtained enough signatures to appear on the ballot in Kennebec County, where he is running for sheriff as an independent.
Mason had been tapped by Gov. Paul LePage to succeed Randall Liberty, who left the position to become warden for the State Prison in Warren. The county Democratic Party was asked to submit at least two names for the post, but had submitted only one, Interim Sheriff Ryan Reardon. Because they did not submit more than one name, LePage selected Mason, who had submitted his name when the job became vacant in October 2015. The appointment would only have lasted throughout the remainder of 2016, since a new sheriff would be elected in November.
When the nomination appeared to be headed for the courts, Mason withdrew, and announced he would run as an independent in the general election.
On July 7, he turned in 340 signatures, 40 more than the 300 needed to appear on the ballot.
“I got them all myself,” he said. “I knocked on doors and shook hands, and got to meet people throughout the county.”
Mason was born in Augusta and raised in Farmingdale. He graduated from Hall-Dale High School and spent five years in the Marines before coming back to Kennebec County and settling in Readfield, where he and his wife currently live. He worked for the Augusta Police Department for 18 years before coming to Lincoln County in 2005. “I was very active in the community, and people knew me. I’m still very well known,” he said.
Mason said that while Lincoln County can’t vote for him, he knows he has the support of the county in other ways. “I’m very grateful for that,” he said.
Because the Democratic caucus has not yet occurred, Mason is the only candidate on the ballot for the office of sheriff of Kennebec County currently.
“It’s going very well,” Mason said. “On the Fourth of July, I was in the Winslow parade, and the Augusta parade, and this past Saturday, I was in the Old Hallowell Day parade.”
He said he is getting to know more people every day. “I come home from work, and my wife and I go out in my truck, and I knock on doors,” he said. “I’m getting a lot of support, not only in Kennebec County, but also in Lincoln County.”
Mason said he is very confident that he’ll win the election. “I have 30 years’ experience, much of it in a leadership position,” he said. “It will be bittersweet to leave Lincoln County, I love working here, but I want to be captain of my own ship.”