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Press conferences held Thursday for Cumberland County DA candidates

Cumberland County District Attorney Jonathan Sahrbeck and challenger Jackie Sartoris addressed reporters Thursday.
Credit: NCM

PORTLAND, Maine — Just days before June 14's primary election in the Cumberland County District Attorney's race, both Democratic candidates addressed reporters Thursday.

District Attorney Jonathan Sahrbeck held a press conference inside the Cumberland County Courthouse to address claims made by a Political Action Committee (PAC) that has funded advertisements for Sartoris.

"I couldn't tell you why this PAC is getting involved in this race," Sahrbeck said. "What has happened because of [its] involvement in this race, is we're not talking about the important issues we have here in Cumberland County."

One of those issues highlighted during the press conference and brought up in one attack ad is Sahrbeck's record with sex trafficking cases.

Catherine Wilson is the executive director of Stop Trafficking US and was one of three speakers at the event. She said Sahrbeck has always been committed to helping sex trafficking victims since before he took office.

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"[Sahrbeck] returns calls, he shows, and he is there. He is there for survivors, like me," Wilson added.

Members of other organizations dedicated to stopping sex trafficking also spoke in support of Sahrbeck's record on that issue. 

Sartoris, an assistant district attorney in Kennebec County, held a virtual press conference on Thursday afternoon.

"I said right away when I saw the first ad, which came as much of a surprise to me as anyone else, that I do not like the tone of these ads," she said.

The challenger of next week's reelection said she is running on criminal justice reform, holding the criminal justice system more accountable, and helping our state's substance abuse crisis.

Sartoris said the PAC's ads have distracted voters away from the true message of the two candidate's platforms. She reminded voters, that the ads are out of her control.

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