The Maine Supreme Judicial Court on Tuesday affirmed a lower court ruling that invalidated the U.S. Senate candidacy of Republican Max Linn, a financial planner who lives in Bar Harbor.

Linn’s campaign had appealed a decision by Superior Court Justice William Stokes, who ruled that Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap was correct in invalidating Linn’s candidacy because a large number of fraudulent voter signatures appeared on Linn’s nominating petitions.

Tuesday’s finding by the Law Court is the latest in a series of legal developments that started after the campaign of Republican state Sen. Eric Brakey, who is running against Linn in the June 12 primary, challenged Linn’s nominating petitions. The Brakey campaign had discovered the signatures of voters who were no longer alive.

Brakey, of Auburn, is now running unopposed in the primary to be his party’s nominee to challenge incumbent U.S. Sen. Angus King, a Brunswick independent and former Maine governor.

While Linn’s name will still appear on the June primary ballot, he is ineligible to be elected, based on the decision by Dunlap and backed by both Stokes and the state’s highest court.

In an initial review requested by Brakey, Dunlap found some invalid signatures on Linn’s nominating petitions but concluded Linn still had enough valid signatures to qualify for the ballot. Brakey challenged that conclusion in Superior Court, and Stokes ordered Dunlap to consider new evidence from Brakey that there were more invalid signatures on the petitions.

After a second review of the petitions, Dunlap invalidated more signatures and found that Linn was 10 signatures short of the 2,000 valid signatures he needed to qualify.

“The challenge to the Linn campaign included evidence of fraudulent signatures, voters who testified that they had not signed the petitions, duplicate signatures, and a number of people who signed who were not, in fact, registered Republicans,” Dunlap said in a prepared statement Tuesday. He said that while Linn’s name would appear on the ballot, his office would provide notice to all voters, both absentee and those at the polling places in June, that Linn was not a valid candidate.

Steve Juskewitch, Linn’s attorney, said in an interview Tuesday that the Law Court “ducked the issue” in its ruling. He said his client would not attempt any further appeal.

“I don’t think you actually can appeal it,” Juskewitch said. “It all revolves around state law, and the whole thing is time-sensitive with the primary on June 12.”

Scott Thistle can be contacted at 791-6330 or at:

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