AUBURN — With a number of municipalities yet to report results late Tuesday night, Seth Carey appeared to be leading Alexander Willette in the Republican primary for district attorney for Androscoggin, Franklin and Oxford counties.
The winner of the primary will take on the current district attorney, Democrat Andrew Robinson, in the November general election.
Carey, an attorney based in Auburn, has had a campaign marred by controversy, and his license to practice law is currently suspended because of sexual abuse allegations against him.
By 11 p.m., Carey had won Auburn and a number of towns in Androscoggin County, including Durham, Greene, Lisbon, Livermore, Minot, Sabattus and Turner.
He had also won the town of Oxford in Oxford County, and Jay and Chesterville in Franklin County.
The two candidates traded wins in the two biggest cities, with Carey taking Auburn, 747-377, and Willette taking his native Lewiston, 813-417.
In a statement to the Sun Journal, Carey said late Tuesday that if he wins the primary, “In the next few months I’m going to focus on clearing my name and the truth coming to the surface about false allegations from my detractors and those who have the most to lose by me draining the swamp.”
In April, a Rumford district court judge granted a protection from abuse order against Carey after a woman accused him of sexual abuse.
The judge’s decision prompted the chairman of the Maine Republican Party to encourage Carey, 42, to drop out of the race.
In April, the chairwoman of the Maine GOP, Demi Kouzounas, called on Carey to quit the race in the face of “actual, credible accusations” of misconduct. She said residents of the three counties “should not have a cloud of doubt hovering their heads.”
The protection from abuse order was requested by one of Carey’s former clients, a woman who has been living at his house in Rumford.
Willette, 29, is a Lewiston lawyer, former state representative, and an Army National Guard JAG officer. He began working as an assistant district attorney in Sagadahoc County in 2015.
Despite the many towns still not reporting results, Willette said he was not feeling good about the end result late Tuesday.
“The numbers are slowly coming in and it’s looking like I will be coming up short tonight,” Willette said on his campaign Facebook page. “While I am disappointed, I want to thank you all for your support over the past few months. While not ideal, I am looking forward to relaxing this summer and helping my friends running for office across the state.”
In his statement Tuesday, Carey said, “I look forward to speaking with many more people before the November election and getting my outsider message to the masses, continuing the fight to aid law enforcement and make Maine a safer and less-expensive place to live. I look forward to raising a bit more than $93 and being outspent 100-1. I also look forward to Andy Robinson going back to the job that best suits him — assistant DA.”
Carey said he was expecting the race to be close as more results came in in Oxford and Franklin counties.