Saturday, March 8, 2014
(This post has been corrected to note that the email was from the bookstore's co-owners. - S.M.)
There is quite a battle taking place among supporters of candidates running for House District 66 in Brunswick.
Recently, Gary Lawless and Beth Leonard, co-owners of the Gulf of Maine Books on Maine Street, found themselves immersed in a fight that is dividing local progressives.
Lawless and Leonard have displayed a sign supporting Mattie Daughtry, the Democratic candidate in the race. Apparently this is not sitting well with some supporters of Green Independent candidate Fred Horch. According to an email the owners sent to patrons, some local Greens have suggested they will boycott the business.
Those who know Lawless, know that he is a feisty guy. The downtown business has a loyal following that has allowed Gulf of Maine to outlast the now shuttered Borders (they also distributed bumper stickers, "Books without Borders").
A reader sent us the email the owners distributed to patrons regarding the unrest among local Greens. Here's what it said:
"Recently we have had several calls, visits and emails from Green Party members concerned that we have a sign in our bookstore window supporting the Democratic candidate for the state legislature from Brunswick, and not the Green candidate. It has been suggested that this will have a negative impact on our business, but so far we have survived Bookland, Borders and Amazon, so a Green boycott is not a threat, just a disappointment.
"One prominent local green exploded at Beth, saying that he had worked forty years for this. For what - a local legislative candidate who is white, male and from away? Another Green creator of fables was dismayed that we would support "a little girl six years out of high school" but yes, we do support a woman candidate, an intelligent, energetic native of Brunswick who loves her hometown, wants to do something for it, and happens to be a thoughtful, progressive Democrat.
"With their raised voices and implied suggestions of economic consequences if we continue to visibly support the candidate we endorse, these Greens are sounding more like our current governor, and less like the vibrant alternative of diversity, community and sustainability.
"We will continue to support the candidate, Mattie Daughtry, who we think is the best choice for Brunswick."
Steve Mistler covers politics and government for the Portland Press Herald. He spends a lot of time in the hallways of the State House.