June 30, 2012

Cornell du Houx drops out of House race

The lawmaker, who was involved in a high-profile breakup, is going on active duty in the Navy.

By Steve Mistler smistler@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

The state lawmaker from Brunswick who was involved in a high-profile controversy with another legislator said Friday that he is abandoning his campaign for re-election.

Democratic state Rep. Alex Cornell du Houx has been called to active duty by the Navy Reserves and is withdrawing from the House District 66 race.

Courtesy photo

Democratic Rep. Alex Cornell du Houx confirmed that he is withdrawing from the House District 66 race. Cornell du Houx, who is in Australia, indicated via email that he is stepping aside because he has been called to active duty in the Navy Reserves.

Cornell du Houx, a former Marine, was commissioned as a Navy officer in December. He said the Navy informed him that his duty will begin Jan. 8, around the start of 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 but will not appear on the ballot Nov 6.

The Brunswick Democratic Town Committee has until July 23 to caucus and draft a new candidate.

The announcement apparently ends a saga involving Cornell du Houx, whose ugly breakup with Rep. Erin Herbig, D-Belfast, made news 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 that Cornell du Houx stalked and threatened her.

The dispute ended with a court settlement.

Since then, officials in the Democratic Party have said they wanted Cornell du Houx to end his re-election bid.

Party officials said he 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 12 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 candidacy for the good of the party.

Cornell du Houx lashed back at Grant before leaving for 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 with Herbig, but instead focused on a police investigation that ended before the agreement. Authorities never interviewed Cornell du Houx.

Cornell du Houx took a 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 he 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.

State House Writer Steve Mistler can be contacted at 791-6345 or at:

smistler@mainetoday.com

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