May 21, 2019
Politics Latest News | Geraldine Largay | Bangor Metro | Mills Revived | Today's Paper

GOP picks Rent-a-Husband founder to replace candidate who died, contend for Maine Senate seat

AUGUSTA, Maine — Republicans in the Windham area have chosen Kaile Warren of Windham as its candidate in Senate District 26 after the death Thursday of candidate Stuart “Toby” Pennels, according to the state’s elections chief.

Warren was nominated Thursday evening in a district-level caucus. According to Deputy Secretary of State for Elections Julie Flynn, Warren’s name will appear on the November ballot aside Democrat William Diamond’s. The seat is held by Republican Sen. Gary Plummer, who is not seeking re-election.

Flynn said her office received information about Warren’s nomination late Friday morning. The deadline for party candidates to have their names added to the general election ballot is 5 p.m. Friday.

Warren, a former Windham town councilor, is best known for a handyman business he founded years ago called Rent-A-Husband, which he expanded to a national scale. Warren made state and national news in 2009 when he was indicted for allegedly defrauding investors to his company.

The Maine attorney general’s office dropped criminal charges against Warren in 2011, and in March 2014, it also dropped civil charges. According to a March 27, 2014, report in the Lakes Region Weekly, Warren reached a confidential settlement with Ace Hardware and two law firms, Preti Flaherty and Marcus Clegg & Mistretta, which had drafted investment contracts for him.

Under the terms of the settlement, according to the news report, Warren was required to use proceeds from that settlement to pay just under $2 million to the state, which will distribute the money to his former investors. Warren argued throughout the years-long legal proceedings that he had received faulty advice from his attorneys.

Warren said in a written response to questions from the BDN Friday that his real-world experience developing a national business will be of value in the Senate.

“I respect Bill Diamond for his years of service and his accomplishments in the Legislature,” said Warren. “I believe the voters are looking for something different, something more out of their senator. I believe I am that difference.”

Warren said his past legal woes are an asset to his new campaign.

“My case was a classic example of how government wrongfully attacks and cannibalizes its citizens and businesses,” said Warren. “The strength, knowledge and sheer determination that it took to beat two wrongful felony indictments is the exact strength, knowledge and determination that I believe Maine citizens and business owners want pushing government back on their behalf, when need be. … Once you have been wrongfully indicted, you have one of two choices. You can curl up and become a victim of it or you can openly and proudly push on with your life’s goals and become a survivor of a wrongful government action.”

Diamond, a former Maine secretary of state and longtime legislator who was termed-out of a Windham-area Senate seat in 2012, said he is familiar with Warren.

“I’m sure he’ll run a positive campaign,” said Diamond.

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