AUGUSTA — Although Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap ruled that more than 200 signatures on Max Linn’s candidate petition were invalid, including several that belonged to people who died years ago, he said Thursday that the Republican U.S. Senate candidate turned in enough valid signatures to remain on the June primary ballot.

The campaign of state Sen. Eric Brakey of Auburn, the other Republican on the ballot, filed a complaint against Linn’s campaign in March after it discovered the signatures of dead voters. The two are vying for the chance to challenge incumbent U.S. Sen. Angus King, an independent, in November.

After a hearing with Linn and Brakey’s election team, Dunlap found 230 signatures on Linn’s petition were either invalid or forgeries. But Dunlap also confirmed that Linn, a financial planner and Bar Harbor resident, still had 2,018 valid signatures – 18 more than needed.

Brakey’s political director, David Boyer, said Thursday that the campaign was considering an appeal of Dunlap’s decision to Kennebec County Superior Court, noting that nearly 10 percent of Linn’s signatures were invalid.

“Obviously we are very disappointed,” Boyer said. “We will figure out over the next couple days whether or not we want to appeal it. Roughly one in 10 of this guy’s signatures were fraudulent, so how much more investigation did the state do? Did they do any?”

Earlier in the week, Linn charged Brakey’s campaign with setting him up, a charge Brakey denied.

“In my opinion cowardly Eric Brakey campaign sabotaged my campaign by putting names of dead people on my petitions and also forging other names, knowing this would undermine my campaign and create an overall feeling of discredit on my campaign,” Linn said. Brakey has denied the allegation.

In his ruling Thursday, Dunlap noted there was no proof Brakey’s campaign meddled with Linn’s petitions.

“This is pure speculation,” Dunlap wrote, “unsupported by any evidence.”

Scott Thistle can be contacted at 713-6720 or at:

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