PORTLAND, Maine – A Republican challenger to incumbent Susan Collins (R-Maine) said this week that his continued denial of a 2003 conviction for assaulting his wife demonstrates his political integrity and will help him defeat Collins in this year’s Republican Senate Primary.
“A lot of politicians beat their wives,” said challenger Erick Bennett. “At first they deny it, but then all the evidence comes in and the court convicts them and they wimp out and admit what they’ve done. Not me. Because when I deny something, I deny it forever, no matter how much evidence contradicts me.”
Bennett, whose wife divorced after the alleged attack, spent a year fighting the charges until the Maine Supreme Judicial Court upheld his conviction in 2004. At which time he continued to deny them to anyone who would listen.
“All that needs to be done is [the alleged victim] has to repeat what they wrote down in the police report and that allows the victim to be viewed as a credible witness,” claimed Bennett, who said the justice system is designed to “railroad” alleged domestic abusers. “Then it becomes my word verses hers and all the evidence against me. What a crock.”
He said he expected Maine Republican primary voters to identify with his story of a regular guy who beat his wife, got caught, then refused to admit he’d done anything wrong. “Refusing responsibility for your actions? That’s not only the Maine way, that’s the Republican way,” he said. “If I go to D.C., I’m going to have that same integrity in doing what I say, and saying what I do, when it comes to protecting people’s rights, as well as their pocketbooks. Though not their wives. I’m not much for protecting people’s wives.”
Much of the Republican establishment in Maine is unhappy with Bennett’s candidacy, and do not believe he will be much of a threat to Senator Collins. “I find those comments personally reprehensible, and I’ve heard people from across the political spectrum in Maine who share their abhorrence with those views,” said GOP Chairman Rick Bennett, who is not related to the primary challenger. “They do not represent the views of the Republican Party.”
“Well, alright, maybe they do, but we’re not supposed to go around saying it like that,” he added.