The Brunswick state lawmaker who had been embroiled in a high-profile controversy with another legislator says he is abandoning his reelection bid.
Democratic Rep. Alex Cornell du Houx confirmed today that he was withdrawing from the District 66 race. Cornell du Houx, who is currently in Australia, indicated via email that he was stepping aside because he’s been called to active duty in the U.S. Navy Reserves.
Cornell du Houx, a former U.S. Marine, received an officer commissioning with the Navy in December.
He said the Navy informed him that his duty begins Jan. 8, 2013, which coincides with the next legislative session. Cornell du Houx said he is prohibited from participating in political activity while on active duty.
“I could go through the process and request another date. However the events of late have given me time to consider the best way to continue in public service while I move forward with my future,” he said.
He will complete his current term.
The announcement would appear to end a prolonged and peculiar saga involving Cornell du Houx, who became involved in an ugly breakup with Rep. Erin Herbig, D-Belfast, earlier this year. The termination of their romantic relationship led Herbig to secure a temporary protection from abuse order against Cornell du Houx. Herbig claimed the Brunswick lawmaker stalked and threatened her.
The dispute ultimately ended with a court settlement.
Since then officials in the Democratic party hoped Cornell du Houx would end his re-election bid. Party officials said the lawmaker had assured Democratic leaders that he would step aside. However, Cornell du Houx refused to disclose his intentions when asked by a reporter a few days after the June primary.
His refusal apparently frustrated Democratic Party Chairman Ben Grant who took the rare step of publicly calling for Cornell du Houx to abandon his electoral hopes for the good of the party.
Cornell du Houx lashed back at Grant before taking off on a two-week trip to Australia with the American Council of Young Political Leaders.
Earlier this week a widely distributed letter from Cornell du Houx to Brunswick residents was made public. The letter made no mention of the court settlement, but instead focused on a police investigation that ended before the agreement. Authorities never interviewed Cornell du Houx.
Cornell du Houx took a final swipe at Grant in his email statement on Friday.
“When Ben Grant revisited a private issue that was made public last May his unprofessional comments reignited false accusations even though I was cleared by the police,” Cornell du Houx wrote Friday.
He added, “After Ben made his statements I received many calls encouraging me to run and my reaction was to stay in the race. However, I have chosen to take this opportunity to serve my community, state and nation by progressing my career in the Navy.”
Cornell du Houx said that he had originally asked for an active duty date that didn’t coincide with the next legislative session. However, he said, no slots were available so he was assigned to Jan. 8, 2013.
The Brunswick Democratic Town Committee has until July 23 to caucus and draft a new candidate.