May 24, 2018
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Presque Isle Dem wins County D.A. primary

By Jen Lynds, BDN Staff

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — A Democratic candidate for the Aroostook County district attorney’s seat pulled off a win by a significant margin of victory during primary elections on Tuesday.

Todd Collins of Presque Isle captured 49.92 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results compiled by the Bangor Daily News.

Collins beat out John Pluto of Hamlin, who garnered about 29 percent of the vote, and Patrick Gordon of Houlton, who received about 21 percent.

Collins now will advance to the general election in November, but it is likely that he already has secured the position. There are no Republican or unenrolled candidates in the race, so Collins will be the only one on the ballot.

Collins captured the majority of the vote in Aroostook’s two major cities and in its most populous towns, winning in such places as Caribou, Presque Isle, Fort Kent, Eagle Lake, Easton and Fort Fairfield.

Pluto captured significant votes in the St. John Valley, including 87 percent of the vote in Van Buren, 54 percent in Madawaska and 94 percent in his hometown of Hamlin. Gordon captured most of his votes in southern Aroostook, including 91 percent of the vote in his hometown of Houlton and 88 percent of the vote in Hodgdon, along with winning in smaller towns such as Littleton, Monticello and Orient.

It still wasn’t enough to beat Collins, a Fort Kent native who earned his law degree from the Vermont Law School in 1998 and returned to Aroostook County to serve as assistant district attorney in the Caribou office in 2002. Before returning to Maine, Collins worked in the Strafford County Attorney’s Office in Dover, N.H., for three years.

Collins has prosecuted more than 2,000 cases during his career.

In an interview with the Bangor Daily News last week, Collins said that he would continue to take a tough stance against the perpetrators of family violence, burglaries and drug crimes if elected district attorney. He also said that he would work with communities and law enforcement officials to take a leadership role in educating families and individuals about the consequences of abusing alcohol and drugs.

Current Aroostook County District Attorney Neale Adams has held the seat since 1989. Adams is serving his fifth term, which expires at the end of December. Collins, Gordon and Pluto all work under Adams as assistant district attorneys.

Reached on Wednesday evening, Collins said that he was humbled by his victory in the primary.

He said that he has not heard of any undeclared candidate who is going to try to get on the November ballot, but he said his campaign is still not over.

“The vote in November is part of the process, and I will treat it as such,” he said Wednesday. “There is still work to be done, so I am still going to campaign.”

Collins thanked the voters that supported him in the primary.

“I am humbled by the support,” he said. “For the voters that did not support me, I take that as a sign that there is still work to be done in order for them to get to know me, and I am going to work hard to make that happen.”

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