AUGUSTA — It’s a stalemate in the duel over who fill the district attorney’s post in Kennebec and Somerset counties until an election can be held.

Gov. Paul LePage has not acted on the lone nominee — Rep. Maeghan Maloney, D-Augusta — whose name was the only one forwarded following a joint meeting Feb. 8 of the two Democratic county committees.

Under Maine law, the nominee must be the same political part as the district attorney who had been serving in the office. Evert Fowle, a Democrat, resigned after being nominated by LePage as a district court judge.

Adrienne Bennett, press secretary for LePage, a Republican, said Monday the governor’s office told the committees before they met that the governor expected to receive more than one name in nomination for the interim district attorney position.

Bennett said the governor is waiting for the committees to also recommend Alan Kelley, longtime deputy district attorney who is currently acting district attorney. Kelley had run for the office a decade ago as a Republican and switched his party affiliation to Democrat several years ago.

Faced with both Maloney and Kelley as options, county committee members voted only to pass along Maloney’s name to LePage.

“There was no sense of partisan politics from us in choosing Evert Fowle during this process and the governor expects no less from the Democrat committee,” Bennett said. “Again, the governor believes that this should be based on qualifications and to not have Alan Kelley as a nominee is disappointing given his 35 years of experience and 17 as deputy DA.

“This is not a game of partisan politics and everyone should leave those notions at the door when it comes to presenting the governor’s office nominees for this important position.”

But the Democratic county committees said they have not received any official response from the governor’s office since Maloney’s name was hand-delivered to him as sole nominee more than a month ago.

Neither side appears willing to budge.

“The statute is very clear,” said Rita Moran, chairman of the Kennebec County Democratic Committee. “The choice of the nominee is not the purview of the governor; it is the purview of the two county Democratic committees involved. It is not his place to tell us what name should be on that list; that’s our job.”

Sarah Fuller, spokeswoman for both the Kennebec County and Somerset County Democrats, said the joint committees await a response from the governor before they decide what to do.

“It’s up to our membership to decide how many names and what names we should send him,” she said. “After our joint committee meeting, this is what the membership voted on and that’s what we did.”

Bennett said she expected some communication to take place because of recent Kennebec Journal stories about the matter. However, she added, “Our counsel was told by officials of the Democratic Party if we asked for another name, we would likely not receive one.”

Meantime, Republican Darrick X. Banda, of Manchester, a former assistant district attorney in Kennebec and Somerset counties, has filed paperwork with the Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics indicating he is actively raising money as part of his campaign for the post. Banda is in private practice.

An election to fill the two years that remain of Fowle’s term is expected in November.

Maloney, a 1997 graduate of Harvard Law School and a former assistant attorney general in Maine who is in private practice, has filed similar papers as a Democratic candidate for district attorney. She also has filed papers to run for re-election for her seat in the House, but said she will withdraw later from that race. The Democrats would then caucus and nominate someone to take her spot on the ballot.

Kelley said on Monday he also planned to file with the Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics indicating his candidacy.

“You file when you start raising funds,” he said. “I have not yet started any fundraising.”

He said if no interim district attorney is appointed before the election, he will continue to act as district attorney for the remainder of the year.

“Basically I think, in part, what I’ve done in my career, what I’ve done in the courtroom in prosecuting people makes a difference in people’s lives and in the safety of the community,” he said. “It’s not just a political opportunity; it is my life’s work. This is what I care about.”

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

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