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Cumberland Co. district attorney candidates face off amid big outside spending

After $300,000 from George Soros paid for ads supporting Jackie Sartoris' Cumberland County district attorney bid, the local primary has taken the national stage.

CUMBERLAND COUNTY, Maine — In Cumberland County, voters on Tuesday have the potential to pick the next district attorney.

This is because there is currently no Republican running for the seat held by Democrat Jonathan Sahrbeck.

Sahrbeck is facing off against fellow Democrat Jackie Sartoris.

But voters that live in Cumberland County may have seen the relentless mailers piling up in mailboxes, targeting Sahrbeck and promoting Sartoris.

Except those mailers are not paid for by Sartoris. They are paid for by an out-of-state super PAC, with $300,000 coming from billionaire George Soros.

A NEWSCENTER Maine VERIFY found that only several of the claims made on the Soros-paid ads were true.

The reports have gained national attention. But despite taking center stage for a relatively small primary, the candidates hope voters can weed through the noise.

"When this money comes in, it takes away from the important issues between my opponent and I," Sahrbeck said.

Sahrbeck said he wished Sartoris would do more to disassociate herself from the ads, while the challenger said she had nothing to do with the out-of-state PAC.

"I think the Cumberland County voters know these PACs are out of the control of candidates... and make the choice they get to have," Sartoris said.

Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows said despite low turnout in the morning, the district attorney race in Cumberland County is a top-of-the-ticket item.

"It seems that is a record amount of money in a district attorneys race. I think it demonstrates an interest in criminal justice reform," Bellows said.

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