LEWISTON — Seth Carey has emerged the winner of Tuesday’s GOP primary for the office of district attorney for Androscoggin, Franklin and Oxford counties, topping fellow Republican candidate Alex Willette by more than 1,800 votes.
Carey was the decisive winner in Auburn, where he lives and has recently established a private law practice.
Willette, a former state representative who has worked as an assistant district attorney in Sagadahoc County since 2015, carried his hometown of Lewiston.
While Carey was the clear winner in each county, he did not carry his hometown of Rumford, losing to Willette there 246-57.
Carey had campaigned on a platform of ending illegal immigration and fighting fraud and financial abuse to protect taxpayers.
Carey’s license to practice law was placed on disciplinary suspension April 30 by order of Superior Court Justice Thomas Warren, after a district court judge in Rumford signed a protection from abuse order for a former client who claimed Carey had sexually assaulted her at his Rumford home, where she was living.
Requirements for the office of district attorney are that the candidate must be a lawyer and admitted to the general practice of law in Maine, according to the Maine Secretary of State’s State of Maine 2018 Candidate’s Guide to Ballot Access.
Last week, Carey said he was aware of that requirement but was confident his suspension would be revoked by the time he would be sworn into office.
Under the order for suspension, Carey is barred from referring to himself as a lawyer on any website, any Facebook account or any other form of advertising of legal services.
The order for immediate suspension was issued after the court found evidence supporting a “finding that Attorney Carey has committed violations of the Maine Rules of Professional Conduct,” and that his “misconduct is sufficiently serious to constitute a threat to clients, to the public, and to the administration of justice,” according to that order.
Carey is expected to have a hearing on that suspension with a single justice of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court later this month or in July. If that justice’s decision is appealed by Carey or the Overseers of the Bar, the appeal would go before the full Supreme Judicial Court for a decision, possibly from a hearing with oral arguments or from written briefs.
Carey has been suspended from practicing law several times, including twice in 2009 on competency issues and conduct unbecoming an attorney and, most recently, in 2016. The 2016 suspension was later revised to allow him to practice law under the supervision of another lawyer.
In addition to suspensions, he has also been reprimanded for failing to meet a lawyer’s “standards of care and judgment.”
While Carey’s license in Maine is suspended, according to state records, he is licensed to practice in Connecticut, Massachusetts and federal court in the first district for Maine.
In his campaign announcement, Carey said he had worked as an immigrant attorney in Florida in 2009. He said he had passed the bar there, but a license was never issued because of the Maine suspension at the time.
Carey’s name does not appear as a current member of the Florida Bar, according to its website, and Florida does not make public the names of lawyers who pass the bar in that state.
On May 28, Carey was issued a no-trespass notice by Auburn police after an incident at Cumberland Farms on Center Street, where he was reported to argue with employees about placing election signs on the business’s private property without permission. Carey disputed that he was the aggressor, and said the employees challenged him.
Carey, a 2001 graduate of Vermont Law School, will face incumbent District Attorney Andrew Robinson in the November general election.