Penobscot County District Attorney R. Christopher Almy during a 2015 press conference in Bangor.

Penobscot County’s longtime Democratic district attorney will not run for re-election, leaving an open path for one of his colleagues to replace him.

R. Christopher Almy, D-Charleston, indicated he would run for re-election when he filed signed nomination papers to the Maine secretary of state earlier this month.

But he withdrew them two days before the filing deadline when he learned that his assistant district attorney, Marianne Lynch, a Republican from Bangor who serves as an assistant district attorney in his office, was interested in succeeding him, he said.

“Marianne Lynch expressed an interest in running and I encouraged that,” he said Friday. “And I’d just as soon at this point let someone take over the reins.”

Lynch is the only party candidate who has qualified for the ballot as of the March 15 deadline. She could still face opposition in the November general election, as the deadline to file as an independent is June 1.

But no Democrat qualified for the ballot, meaning the party could only have someone run as a write-in candidate for the November general election.

“From my perspective, the important aspect of running a DA’s office is competence and integrity. Political affiliation is not a factor,” Almy said.

Almy, 68, has served as district attorney since 1985, representing both Penobscot and Piscataquis counties.

He joined the Penobscot County District Attorney’s Office as an assistant district attorney in 1976 and was a local defense lawyer for less than a year before that. He graduated from Bowdoin College and the University of Delaware School of Law.

In his more than three decade career as district attorney, Almy has prosecuted police officers and prostitutes, city councilors and drunken drivers, civic leaders and perpetrators of domestic violence.

Almy declined to comment on his future plans.

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Callie Ferguson is an investigative reporter for the Bangor Daily News. She writes about criminal justice, police and housing.