Wednesday, March 12, 2014
Brunswick Democratic state Rep. Alex Cornell du Houx has distributed a letter to constituents about his high-profile separation with a female lawmaker that triggered a temporary protection from abuse order and ultimately ended with a court settlement.
In his June 15 letter to residents in District 66, Cornell du Houx wrote that the complaint against him "was withdrawn and dismissed" by a Belfast judge. He does not mention that withdrawal of the court order was precipitated by a court agreement between him Rep. Erin Herbig, D-Belfast.
Herbig had accused Cornell du Houx of stalking and threatening her after the couple ended their relationship earlier this year.
Herbig withdrew the complaint after her attorney and Cornell du Houx's attorney reached a deal prior to the court hearing. Details of the agreement are confidential and both sides are prohibited from discussing the deal publicly.
In his letter, Cornell du Houx says he refrained from commenting about the matter because "I believe personal issues should not be public, and I knew that I would be officially cleared of any wrongdoing."
Cornell du Houx declined to comment on the matter during the media firestorm citing advice from his attorney. He has refuted Herbig's allegation against him. His family, meanwhile, has attempted to defend him.
The letter comes amid renewed controversy between Cornell du Houx and the Maine Democratic Party. Party Chairman Ben Grant told the Press Herald last week that Cornell du Houx should abandon his re-election bid. The 29-year-old lawmaker originally told staff with the House Democrats that he planned to withdraw from the race, but he refused to say what his plans are when contacted by a reporter. He then blasted Grant before leaving for a two-week trip to Australia.
His letter suggests that Cornell du Houx is still hoping to defend his legislative seat. Party officials fear the controversy has made him vulnerable. Green Independent candidate Fred Horch said last week that he planned to challenge Cornell du Houx this year. Cornell du Houx narrowly defeated Horch in a three-way race in 2010.
Steve Mistler covers politics and government for the Portland Press Herald. He spends a lot of time in the hallways of the State House.