AUGUSTA — Although the deadline for filing to run in the special election for Kennebec County sheriff is Monday, the race is expected to be a contest between incumbent Sheriff Ryan Reardon, a Democrat, and Ken Mason, Chief Deputy in the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, who is running as an independent candidate.

“We decided to make the deadline the same as the deadline for replacement candidates,” Deputy Secretary of State Julie Flynn said Friday. “So we won’t know for sure if the Republicans will have a candidate, but I have not heard of any candidates.”

On Thursday, the Kennebec County Democratic Committee unanimously nominated Ryan Reardon as its candidate for Kennebec County sheriff. Reardon, 42, who was chief deputy under Kennebec County Sheriff Randall Liberty before Liberty accepted an appointment to be the warden at the Maine State Prison in Warren, was named interim sheriff before being appointed sheriff by Republican Gov. Paul LePage.

On Friday, Ken Mason, who is currently the chief deputy at the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, announced he had turned in more than 300 nomination petition signatures needed to appear on the ballot as an independent.

This special election, which coincides with the general election Nov. 8, was set in motion when Liberty resigned mid-term. Because Liberty is a Democrat, by law the Kennebec County Democratic Committee was charged with nominating a candidate to serve until a special election, at which point county residents head to the polls to elect a sheriff to serve out the balance of the unexpired term. Liberty’s term would have ended in 2018.

The special election is a replay of the contest between the two law enforcement officials.

Mason, 53, who lives in Readfield, submitted his name for consideration to the county Democratic Committee before last October’s county caucus.

Committee Democrats opted to send only Reardon’s name to the governor’s office.

That sparked a showdown between LePage and the committee. LePage insisted he should have more than one name to choose from, citing one interpretation of Maine state law. The county Democrats maintained no requirement for more than one name existed. In February, LePage defied the county Democrats and appointed Mason.

Kennebec County Democrats called the appointment illegal because the appointment didn’t come from a committee nomination, a concern that was echoed by Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap.

In the wake of that, Mason withdrew his name from consideration on Feb. 24, deflecting a looming legal showdown, and he announced he would seek election as an independent candidate in November.

Three weeks later, after county Democrats forwarded a second name for consideration, LePage appointed Reardon sheriff.

Reardon, who lives in Oakland, worked for the Waterville Police Department as a patrol officer and narcotics investigator for 11 years before moving to the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office as deputy and being promoted eventually to chief deputy.

“I have proven leadership working for the people of Kennebec County with important institutional knowledge,” Reardon said and specifically addressed efforts to confront the opioid epidemic. “We have programs already in place, and we are working very well with all agencies to overcome the opiate epidemic.”

Mason has worked in law enforcement for more than 29 years — 18 years in the Augusta Police Department, and 11 years in the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, where he is chief deputy.

“Being an independent candidate allows me to serve the people as an experienced law enforcement officer, not just a politician,” he said. “Each and every member of my community can be assured that I will work within the budget to create and maintain programs that will benefit our community. I will build a cohesive, experienced, progressive department that will serve the people of Kennebec County with honor and distinction this county deserves.”

Jessica Lowell — 621-5632

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Twitter: @JLowellKJ