The new Kennebec County sheriff will be Ken Mason, who won Tuesday’s election with 33,387 votes over the sitting sheriff, Ryan Reardon, who garnered 31,644 votes.

The totals from all the county’s 30 municipalities were unofficial.

The top law enforcement job in Kennebec County became vacant earlier this year when former Sheriff Randall Liberty resigned to become the warden of the Maine State Prison. Reardon, of Oakland, who had been chief deputy under Liberty since 2010, was appointed sheriff in March by Gov. Paul LePage.

“Sheriff Reardon called me earlier and congratulated me on the election,” Mason said Wednesday afternoon. “We briefly spoke about getting together here in the near future, in a couple of weeks, and to start the transition and move forward.”

Mason noted, “The election process for us was very polite and very cordial and very professional.”

Mason, 54, of Readfield, is chief deputy sheriff in neighboring Lincoln County. Before taking that post in February 2005, he had worked for the Augusta Police Department for 18 years.

“I had all this support here because I was born here and worked at the Augusta Police Department,” he said. He said friends and colleagues for the past 12 years in Lincoln County also supported his candidacy.

“They can’t vote for me, but they have friends and family who can,” Mason said. “They have helped me financially, which was good.”

Mason has been campaigning to win the post for the past six months, and his large yellow-and-black campaign signs were posted in a number of places. He started gathering them up Wednesday.

He also was invited by Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Al Morin — also a previous Augusta officer — to attend Wednesday’s Kennebec County Commissioners’ meeting, which involved details of a bid to convert the indoor recreation area at the jail to housing for 21 inmates.

“The commissioners and county administrator congratulated me before the meeting,” Mason said. “It was nice to talk with everybody today.”

Kennebec County operates its own jail, and that accounts for the bulk of the $7.9 million Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office budget. The jail is rated to hold 147 inmates but regularly houses dozens more. It also employs 90 corrections officers.

Mason said it will be bittersweet to leave Lincoln County.

“I’d been down there 12 years,” Mason said. “My world was right there because I worked there, and I lived here.”

Election returns showed Mason had a comfortable lead over Reardon in most of the communities in the southern end of the county, and Reardon placed higher in the northern municipalities.

Reardon said Wednesday that he had called Mason and offered his expertise.

“I’m going to work with him for a couple of weeks on a transition plan,” Reardon said.

Reardon, who remains sheriff until January, also said he intends to leave the department after that.

“I’ll move on,” he said.

Reardon, 42, had joined the department as a patrol deputy in 2007 after more than a decade with the Waterville Police Department.

LePage initially had appointed Mason to be Kennebec County sheriff in February, but Kennebec County Democrats objected because they had submitted only Reardon’s name. Rather than create a standoff, Mason withdrew his name from consideration. Then he collected enough signatures to appear on Tuesday’s ballot as an independent or unenrolled candidate.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

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Twitter: @betadams