May 26, 2018
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Democrats set caucus to replace Rep. Alex Cornell du Houx

Troy R. Bennett | BDN
Troy R. Bennett | BDN
Alex Cornell du Houx speaks with the Bangor Daily News in Brunswick in May 2012.
By Matthew Stone, BDN Staff

BRUNSWICK, Maine — The local Democratic committee charged with finding a replacement for Rep. Alex Cornell du Houx, the embattled Brunswick lawmaker who withdrew last week from his re-election bid, has scheduled a caucus where local Democrats will choose a candidate to appear on November’s ballot.

And one Brunswick Democrat so far has thrown her hat into the ring for the nomination.

On Thursday, Matthea Daughtry said she planned to seek the nomination to take Cornell du Houx’s place on the ballot. Daughtry is a partner at a firm, Maquoit Bay Associates, that specializes in consulting for nonprofit organizations. Until recently, she worked as communications associate for the left-leaning nonprofit Maine’s Majority, which has been highly critical of Gov. Paul LePage’s administration.

Maine’s Majority recently published a string of emails it obtained under Maine’s Freedom of Access Act that it said showed collusion among Maine Heritage Policy Center staff, state Treasurer Bruce Poliquin and MaineHousing board chairman Peter Anastos to force out former MaineHousing director Dale McCormick for political reasons. The Maine Heritage Policy Center and Poliquin had been highly critical of McCormick’s management of MaineHousing.

The Brunswick Democratic Town Committee will choose a Democratic replacement for Cornell du Houx at a caucus set for 3 p.m. July 14, in the Morrell Meeting Room of Curtis Memorial Library, said Andy Cashman, the committee’s chairman.

Under Maine election law, the Brunswick Democratic Town Committee has until July 23 to choose a Democrat to take Cornell du Houx’s place in the race for House District 66. Committee members who live in District 66, which covers part of Brunswick, will make the selection, Cashman said.

Cornell du Houx said last week he would abandon his re-election effort due to an assignment with the U.S. Navy that begins in January, about the same time a new Legislature would be getting to work in Augusta.

But Cornell du Houx also had been under pressure to drop out from the Maine Democratic Party, whose chairman said last month he was concerned that Cornell du Houx’s personal life could become a distraction during an election year in which Democrats are hoping to regain control of the state Legislature.

Cornell du Houx was the subject of a temporary protection from abuse order this spring, filed by legislative colleague Rep. Erin Herbig, D-Belfast, who claimed that Cornell du Houx had stalked, harassed and threatened her after their relationship ended. But Herbig later withdrew the protection order after Maine State Police ended their investigation into the matter and she and Cornell du Houx reached a private agreement.

Police ended their investigation without filing charges or interviewing Cornell du Houx.

As Democrats try to regain control of the Maine House, District 66 is a place where Green-Independents could pose more of a threat to Democratic chances than Republicans.

Cornell du Houx won re-election to his House seat in 2010 with 37 percent of the vote, while Green-Independent candidate Frederick Horch claimed 32 percent of the vote, and Republican Jonathan Crimmins won 27 percent.

And the Brunswick Democratic Town Committee isn’t the only local party committee busy choosing a replacement House District 66 candidate this month.

Local Green-Independents meet Sunday to choose a replacement for David Frans, whose withdrawal from the race makes way for Horch, who says he is interested in making another bid for the House District 66 seat. In a March letter to the editor in The Forecaster newspaper, Horch said he planned to seek the Green-Independent nomination at the party caucus this summer, after he returned home from a sabbatical in Japan.

Horch was owner of a store in downtown Brunswick, F.W. Horch Sustainable Goods & Supplies, until he sold it last year.

The Green-Independent caucus takes place at 11 a.m. Sunday in the Morrell Meeting Room of the Curtis Memorial Library.

The Republican candidate in the race is John Bouchard.

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