As the legal dispute over a romantic relationship gone sour plays out in public, speculation has begun about the fallout that may claim the political careers of one, or both, lawmakers.
Democratic legislative and party leaders are trying to steer clear of the political discussion.
Jodi Quintero, a spokeswoman for Rep. Emily Cain, D-Orono, said Friday that Democratic leaders had briefed Rep. Alex Cornell du Houx, D-Brunswick “about his options.”
However, Quintero said, “it wasn’t appropriate to talk about those options” until after a May 14 court hearing determines whether the protective order that Rep. Erin Herbig, D-Belfast, obtained against Cornell du Houx in Belfast District Court should be extended.
Similarly, Maine Democratic Party Chairman Ben Grant declined to discuss whether party operatives had begun seeking replacement candidates.
Even if Cornell du Houx or Herbig decides to resign before the June election, it’s too late to remove their names from the primary ballot, according to Megan Sanborn, a spokeswoman for the Secretary of State’s Office. Also, withdrawing before the primary could leave Democrats without a candidate in November, according to state election law.
Waiting until after the primary would allow lawmakers’ respective town committees a short window to draft a new candidate.
According to Jonathan Wayne, executive director of the Maine Ethics and Elections Practices Commission, the practice is fairly common for placeholder candidates.
Regardless of the process, it’s unclear whether Cornell du Houx will withdraw from the race. Jeff Hamm, his attorney, said Cornell du Houx remains a respected member of the Brunswick community.
Chris MacLean, Herbig’s attorney, said it was inappropriate to comment on her political career at this time.