Maine GOP Candidate: Domestic Violence Rap Proves My Integrity

A Maine Republican Senate candidate who recently described one of his state’s Democratic congressmen as a “closet homo,” now says that voters can be sure of “how much guts and integrity I have” because he once fought a conviction for assaulting his wife.

Erick Bennett has since been divorced from the wife he was convicted of attacking 2003. He maintained his innocence, battling the conviction in court for year until Maine’s highest court affirmed it once and for all.

“The (lower) court did not commit clear error or abuse its discretion in excluding irrelevant evidence at trial,” the Maine Supreme Judicial Court held, as reported by the Bangor Daily News, adding “sufficient evidence does exist in the record to support his conviction.”

Bennett spoke at a press conference in Portland, Maine, earlier this week to address the domestic violence conviction.

But he also talked about the charges of resumé padding against him. Bennett claims to have worked as a staff member on the campaign of Maine Governor Paul LePage in 2010. But LePage’s campaign says that Bennett never worked for them.

“There was a typo in the report, and my name was filed under something else, instead of my accurate name,” Bennett explained. “I can’t remember what it was.”

As for the domestic violence rap, while voters might generally shy away from a candidate who by his own admission has been “jailed repeatedly,” Bennett has adopted the novel strategy of trying to turn his multiple incarcerations into a political asset for his projected Maine campaign for U.S. Senate, MSNBC notes.

“The fact that I have been jailed repeatedly for not agreeing to admit to something I didn’t do should speak to the fact of how much guts and integrity I have,” Bennett told the Monday Maine press gathering. “If I go to D.C., I’m going to have that same integrity in doing what I say, and saying what I do, when it comes to protecting people’s rights, as well as their pocketbooks.”

Bennett told reporters that he was “railroaded” by a system in which, “if someone writes something down, it doesn’t have to be true. All they have to do is repeat that on the stand. That’s grounds for anyone to be convicted of domestic violence.”

In December, Bennett — who says he will have the 2,000 signatures required to make his candidacy for Collins’ seat official within the week — posted a comment on his Facebook page in which he called Maine Democratic Rep. Mike Michaud, who came out as gay in November, “a closet homo in DC who voted to discriminate against same sex couples,” the Think Progress web site reported.