With a commanding lead for Republican Scott Nichols, independent incumbent Dennis Pike conceded the race for Franklin County sheriff Wednesday morning.
The vote favored Nichols 7,677 to 6,823, with 18 of 21 towns reporting.
“I have called and congratulated him and have offered him full support in helping any way we can in the transition and beyond,” Pike said.
Nichols, the Carrabassett Valley police chief, said he appreciated the call.
“Anyone who puts in 46 years of service to the community deserves our respect,” Nichols said.
Nichols said the two will begin meeting in December to ensure a smooth transition.
“When the dust settles, everybody, the sheriff and myself, wants the best for the department,” Nichols said. “It’s time for a new era.”
Nichols campaigned on big, bold changes, including bringing new technology-based systems to the department and an administrative restructuring.
He said Wednesday he hoped to implement the majority of his plans within a year, although he warned that budget constraints could limit the ability to buy new equipment and services.
He said his first priority will be an anonymous text-a-tip service, which allows residents to send in crime tips through a third-party system, making it impossible for the police to trace the tip to its source.
Nichols also said he is considering some changes to the staff.
After winning three consecutive terms, Pike, 74 said he suspected some voters were beginning to be concerned about his age. He ran on a record of high crime clearance rates and structural changes that resulted in more resources for the department.
Pike said that he appreciated the positive political campaign that Nichols ran, and Nichols said the same, adding the positive tone of the campaign allowed for a better exchange of ideas.
Nichols won in Wilton 1,277 to 945; Carrabassett Valley 359-86; New Sharon 570-325; Rangeley 378-266; Rangeley Plantation 74-60; Kingfield 376-245; Freeman Township 65-58; Strong 406-288; Eustis 239-139.
Pike won in Farmington 1,949 to 1,785; Industry 231-211; Avon 122-113; Phillips 270-210; Madrid 53-39; Carthage 145-88; Sandy River Plantation 47-33; Jay 1,298 to 1,172; Chesterville 356-307.
Pike said he plans to continue as a Farmington selectman.
Nichols said he will help Carrabassett Valley find a replacement. He takes office as sheriff on Jan. 1.
Matt Hongoltz-Hetling — 861-9287