Seth Carey of Rumford, right, presents his case March 28 to Secretary of State Shenna Bellows, second from right, at a hearing in Augusta. Bellows has ruled that Carey failed to prove that district attorney contender Neal McLean Jr. of Turner, left, did anything wrong in the way he gathered signatures for his election paperwork. Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Bolton, third from right, provided Bellows with legal assistance. Steve Collins/Sun Journal

AUGUSTA — Republican district attorney candidate Neal McLean Jr. will remain on the ballot for this year’s election in Androscoggin, Franklin and Oxford counties after easily fending off a challenge to the campaign paperwork he submitted to the Secretary of State’s Office.

Neal McLean Jr. of Turner is sworn in at a March 28 hearing on charges brought by Seth Carey that he had failed to follow the correct procedure for gathering signatures on election petitions. Secretary of State Shenna Bellows later ruled that Carey failed to prove his case.  Steve Collins/Sun Journal

Secretary of State Shenna Bellows recently dismissed a challenge by one-time prosecutor hopeful Seth Carey of Rumford to the petitions McLean collected.

In an eight-page decision, Bellows ruled that Carey failed during a March 28 hearing to prove that any of the signatures collected by McLean should be thrown out.

The decision means McLean, an assistant district attorney from Turner, remains the only contender for the four-year position held by Democrat Andrew Robinson of Farmington. Robinson, who is under consideration for a state judgeship, is not seeking a third term.

There remains a possibility that somebody could file the necessary paperwork to challenge McLean as an independent in the Nov. 8 general election, though to date Carey is the only person to express an interest in doing so.

Carey’s law license has been suspended since 2018. He cannot serve as district attorney unless he is able to practice law in Maine.

In addition, Carey faces charges related to an alleged sexual assault in 2018, including two felonies. It is unclear when the cases will go to trial.

Carey won a Republican primary in 2018 to become the GOP’s nominee in the race against Robinson. He received 42% of the general election vote despite his legal woes and suspended law license.

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