It was predicted to be the local race to watch. A Republican incumbent facing off against a former longtime sheriff running as an Independent looking to reclaim the office he held for 16 years.

Early on, the race lost its edge as Camden County Sheriff Dwight Franklin took a substantial lead that he held throughout the evening. Former sheriff John Page started the evening down 900 votes when absentee results were posted.

Franklin was up with 1,946 absentee ballots as the first returns were counted. Page lagged behind with 1,092. Franklin continued to maintain a healthy margin as the returns from the county's 24 precincts were tabulated.

Final election results for Franklin gave him an easy victory with 51.03 percent of the total or 10,957 ballots cast. Page ended the race with 36.03 percent or 7,736 votes. Democrat Constance Lowtharp, an unknown candidate who did little in the way of campaigning, walked away with 12.73 percent or 2,734 votes.

With the returns in, Franklin said he was grateful to the voters for their faith in his department. On why he was re-elected, Franklin said, the people of Camden County want to continue to have an organization that is professional and fiscally responsible.

"They like what we have done the last four years and want us to build on it and stay the course for improvement that we started," he said.

Franklin said the sheriff's department would continue to be diligent and conservative.

Page said heading into the election it was going to be tough for an Independent candidate running in a county that is traditionally a Republican stronghold to win. As the polls closed Tuesday evening, Page was guardedly optimistic. As the final returns were posted and the outcome was evident, Page said he appreciated the efforts of all those who worked so hard for an Independent candidate.

"We need to stay involved to make our community a great place to live," he said. "We ran a positive campaign based on putting the truth first and answering the concerns of the citizens and having solutions to their issues and concerns. It goes back to having morals, ethics and truthfulness the citizens want. It is not having excuses for things being done in which citizens had concerns about or questioned."

Camden County Sheriff's Race

Republican Dwight Franklin

Total Votes: 10,957

Percentage: 51.03%

Independent John Page

Total Votes: 7,736

Percentage: 36.03%

Democrat Constance Lowtharp

Total Votes: 2,734

Percentage: 12.73%

Total Votes Cast: 21,471