LEWISTON — Deputy District Attorney Neil McLean Jr. of Turner will be the next district attorney for Androscoggin, Franklin and Oxford counties, beating rival Edward Rabasco of Poland on Tuesday night for the job of top prosecutor.

Neil McLean Jr. Submitted photo

McLean, a Republican, won with 56% of the 83,638 votes cast in the tri-county area, with all but two towns reporting results as of Wednesday afternoon. Rabasco trailed with 44%.

McLean has worked for more than two years locally, currently prosecuting felony crimes brought by police in Lewiston and Auburn as well as some brought by Androscoggin County Sheriff’s Office for felony crimes allegedly committed in some surrounding towns, plus Maine State Police felony cases.

McLean has served as a state prosecutor in Maine for the past 15 years. He was appointed deputy district attorney earlier this year.

When he filed for office, he said he would run on his “strong commitment to accountability, fairness, integrity and the equal application of justice.”

He pledged to confront opioid and other drug crimes and partner with law enforcement to protect victims of crime and safety of the public.


McLean said he would press for “fair and just sentences in all criminal matters” and seek “tough penalties” in domestic violence and human trafficking cases.

He said his goals and priorities include making sure bail decisions are “anchored in public and victim safety,” reducing recidivism and “balancing the individual characteristics of each defendant while always maintaining integrity and transparency” of the District Attorney’s Office.

In an effort to combat a growing backlog of caseloads clogging the courts, McLean said he would advocate for prosecutors to implement a stricter screening process and, where appropriate, have “substantive discussions between parties focused on early disposition of cases.”

Reached at his home Wednesday, McLean said: “The message we tried to send, especially as the campaign got going, is that when we met with people, we tried to let folks know that the DA’s position is really a position that should be above politics. There should be nothing partisan about it.

“The way I described it is that justice and public safety belong to the people,” he said. “We’re just elected to safeguard it on their behalf. And that’s everyone. And I think that, in the end, resonated with people.”

In an election season that was often divisive in other political races, McLean said, when considering who should be the next district attorney, “I think people reached out across lines and realized that experience, credentials and ideas mattered.”


He said his family, friends and supporters joined him on the campaign trail, resulting in a nice, homegrown-type Maine campaign.”

Rabasco, who has been practicing litigation, including criminal defense, for the past 35 years, congratulated McLean on his victory Wednesday and thanked him for running a “fair campaign.”

He told McLean he would “make an outstanding district attorney” based on the working relationship the two have had for the past couple of years.

“He’s a true professional,” Rabasco said. “He’s well respected in the legal community.”

They discussed their families and professional careers and Rabasco said he told McLean he looked forward to working with him in the future.

This was Rabasco’s first foray into politics beyond the local level where he has served on several boards.


McLean enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1988, serving with the 101st Airborne Division. He saw active duty in Desert Shield and Desert Storm. For the past 15 years, he has served as a prosecutor in three districts as well as in the Attorney General’s Office.

He’s married and has four children.

Former District Attorney Andrew Robinson’s departure earlier this year triggered the open seat.

Robinson, a Democrat, was tapped by Gov. Janet Mills to fill a vacancy on the Maine District Court bench.

Acting District Attorney Alexandra Winter, who has served as an assistant district attorney in South Paris, was appointed to head up the office until the winner of Tuesday’s election is sworn in.

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