Will domestic assault conviction help Sen. Susan Collins’s primary challenger?

AP Photo/Ron Edmonds
(Ron Edmonds/AP)

Candidates for the U.S. Senate always need a broad range of qualifications. A domestic violence assault conviction may not be one of them.

Still, Portland, Maine, political consultant Erick Bennett, who’s running in the GOP primary against incumbent Sen. Susan Collins, says his 2003 conviction for attacking his wife — the couple has since divorced — attests to his “guts and integrity,” the Bangor Daily News reported. He called her claims “fraudulent.”

Bennett, in a news conference last week, said he was “railroaded” by the court after he turned down a plea agreement.

“The fact that I have been jailed repeatedly for not agreeing to admit to something I didn’t do should speak to the fact as to how much guts and integrity I have,” he said, vowing to bring “that same” integrity to Washington if elected.

Even so, the odds that he, or any challenger, can beat Collins in November are slim at best. Let’s recall that in 2008, Obama demolished Sen. John McCain in Maine by 17 points. At the same time, Collins routed challenger and six-term Rep. Tom Allen, a popular Democrat and one of the state’s two House members, by 23 points. She got 23,000 votes more than Obama.

Al Kamen, an award-winning columnist on the national staff of The Washington Post, created the “In the Loop” column in 1993.
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Al Kamen · January 7