SOUTH BERWICK — Dana Lajoie said he’s considering whether he’ll mount a write-in campaign for York County sheriff and expects to make a decision in the next few weeks.

Lajoie, the South Berwick police chief, came in second in a three-way race for the Democratic nomination in the June 10 primary. William King, the sheriff’s office current chief deputy, was the victor, while Alfred resident and former deputy Paul Main trailed the pack.

As it stands today, barring a vigorous write-in campaign, King will be York County sheriff on Jan. 1. There is no Republican candidate, nor any unenrolled candidate, on the ballot.

Write-ins must fill out the proper paperwork and get it into the Secretary of State’s office by 5 p.m. Sept. 22, said Deputy Secretary of State Julie Flynn. Being a declared write-in is just that: an individual’s name does not appear on the ballot, but votes cast in their name ”“ with the oval filled in and the name correctly written ”“ will be counted on election night, Nov. 4.

“I’m considering the options. We’re reviewing every aspect,” said Lajoie on Monday. “There’s a lot to (a write-in) campaign. We’ll see if it’s even viable.”

Such an effort would require a concerted effort by a large group of supporters, he acknowledged.

“I wish it had been a two-way race, but it wasn’t,” Lajoie said.

Lajoie did well in southern York County, with wins by significant margins in South Berwick, where he works, Berwick, where he lives, and in Eliot. He won in North Berwick, though the turnout was small, and also in Kittery, and by a significant margin in Lebanon. But he lost in York, though not by much, and had significant losses in the population centers of Saco, where King lives, nearby Biddeford and in Sanford. The smaller towns, for the most part, opted for King or Main. 

With all 29 municipalities reporting, King earned 3,976 votes, or 49.63 percent of the vote; Lajoie 2,159 votes, or 26.96 percent of the vote; and Main 1,876 votes or 23.41 percent of the vote. The figures are according to unofficial results that were sent to media from municipal clerks on primary night.

According to campaign finance reports filed with the Maine Ethics Commission, Lajoie raised the biggest war chest of the campaign, at $12,315, and according to his 11-day pre-primary report, he spent $8,961.

King raised less, at $9,155, and loaned himself $1,653.77, for a total of $10,808.77. He reported in-kind donations of $1,465.23, and spent $8,333.33, according to his 11-day pre-primary report.

Main raised $5,457 in cash and received loans of $1,500, for a total of $6,957. He reported in-kind donations of $1,217.11, and spent $3,897.92, according to his 11-day pre-primary report.

Reports for candidate spending within the last 10 days leading up to the election are required to be received by the ethics board by July 15.

Lajoie said he plans to decide if he’ll mount a write-in campaign within the next three weeks.

King, reached Monday, had no comment.

The sheriff has responsibility for rural patrol, where 24 deputies patrol the highways and byways of rural York County, a jail that holds 200 or more inmates a day and employs about 85 staff, along with a civil division of about eight civil process workers who are independent contractors. The rural patrol division has an annual budget of about $2.5 million, and the county is responsible for paying $8.3 million in operating costs for the jail, with the state required by law to pick up the remaining jail costs of about $2 million annually.

The sheriff, like other elected county positions, is a four-year term.

— Senior Staff Writer Tammy Wells can be contacted at 324-4444 (local call in Sanford) or 282-1535, ext. 327 or [email protected]

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