Seth Carey stands in Lewiston City Hall on Tuesday while getting signatures verified for his run for district attorney. Despite a suspended law license, Carey won a primary in 2018 and ran an unsuccessful race in the general election. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

LEWISTON — After gathering more than enough signatures to claim a spot on the ballot, Republican Seth Carey said Tuesday he’s eager to try again to become the district attorney for Androscoggin, Franklin and Oxford counties.

Though his law license is suspended and he’s facing felony charges that he sexually assaulted a woman living at his Rumford home in 2018, Carey said he hopes to put his problems behind him soon.

“I’m not going to let these charges stop me,” he said.

It isn’t clear whether the secretary of state’s office will agree to put Carey on the ballot while his law license is suspended — Carey has a lawsuit pending on the issue. However, he intends to force a June 14 primary against the only other contender in the race, Neil McLean Jr., 53, of Turner, who works as an assistant district attorney in that office.

The Democrats appear to have nobody willing to run for the full-time job that’s been held for two four-year terms by Democrat Andrew Robinson of Farmington. Robinson, who opted not to run again, has been nominated for a judgeship by Gov. Janet Mills.

Carey, who lives in Rumford, said he hopes to have his ability to practice law restored at a hearing slated for next week. But in any case, he said, he thinks he will have a law license in hand before the Nov. 8 general election, making it possible for him to serve as district attorney if he wins.

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A judge ordered his law license suspended for three years starting in 2018. He has not been able to practice law since April 2018 after charges he sexually assaulted a woman, tampered with a witness and failed to comply with a previous interim suspension order.

Even so, Carey won a Republican primary for district attorney two months later and then ran a surprisingly strong if unsuccessful race against Robinson in the general election despite the legal issues hanging over him.

Carey said the criminal case against him is “a total, strong, politically-driven haranguing” in which he will ultimately prevail if he can ever get the case to trial. He said delays caused in part by the pandemic have pushed off the trial until at least June.

“It’s totally ridiculous,” Carey said.

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