By Associated Press - Wednesday, March 6, 2019

LEWISTON, Maine (AP) - An anonymous website created by the Maine Republican Party’s executive director obtained emails from a Democratic mayoral candidate and used them against him just days before a tight runoff election. The Democrat ultimately lost.

Now a former campaign recruiter for the Democrat has stunned the city council by announcing that she was the source of the emails - and that she turned them over to the Republican while she was having an affair with him.

Heather Berube Everly called on councilors in Lewiston, Maine’s second-largest city, to oust her former lover as mayor Tuesday night. The mayor, Republican Shane Bouchard, was out of town because of the death of a relative and was not at the meeting.

“I’m not completely innocent in this,” Everly told councilors, “and it’s taken a lot of time and finding people to support me through this.”

Bouchard dismissed the emails from Democrat Ben Chin’s campaign and from the Maine People’s Alliance as “old news” on Wednesday and described the affair as an “older” rumor that was “dealt with with family and colleagues months ago.”

Everly didn’t respond to emails Wednesday seeking to clarify her comments.

The Maine Republican Party’s executive director published leaked emails through an anonymous website with a goal of hurting Chin’s campaign. In one of the emails, Chin described a day of canvassing when he had positive interactions but also ran into “a bunch of racists.”

It’s unclear whether stealing someone’s emails violates any crime. The state ethics commission already decided against investigating whether the anonymous website that was created by GOP Executive Director Jason Savage violated campaign financial disclosure laws.

Jonathan Wayne, executive director of the ethics commission, said Wednesday that he didn’t see anything in Everly’s accusations to warrant reopening the investigation.

“The issue of whether a candidate improperly someone’s email is not in the jurisdiction of my commission,” he said.

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