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Tuesday November 08, 2011 | 04:44 PM

Republican Senate candidate Andrew Ian Dodge says an anti-Question 1 ad placed in a number of small newspapers by the Maine Republican Party is “gay-bashing and xenophobic” and has a negative impact on Maine’s reputation nationally.

The ad says that the gay-rights group Equality Maine has donated money to Democratic candidates for the Maine legislature and has donated money to the pro-Question 1 campaign – the campaign to repeal the law banning same day election registration – and been paid money to collect signatures in support of Question 1.

“This kind of campaigning totally undermines Maine's image - especially to those looking to invest or to re-locate a business here - and fights the good economic development work being implemented by the current Maine administration,” says Dodge in a statement.

Dodge, of Harpswell, is one of two Tea Party affiliated candidates challenging Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine in the GOP primary next year. The other is Scott D’Amboise of Lisbon Falls.

Dodge says that if Maine GOP Chairman Charlie Webster “is behind the content of these advertisements, he should step down. The tone of such publicity is detrimental to the good reputation of the Republican Party and the State of Maine.”

Webster said in a phone interview that he stands by the ad, one of a series of ads on Question 1 that he says were intended to show that the Democratic Party is out of step with many Mainers.

“We used the campaign to educate the public about various groups that were supporting the Democrats on this issue,” Webster said, adding that he “does not put much stock” in Dodge’s opinion.

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Kevin Miller is Washington bureau chief for the Portland Press Herald and MaineToday Media. He has worked as a journalist in Maine for 6 ½ years, covering the environment, politics and the State House. Before arriving in Maine, he wrote about politics, government and education for newspapers in Virginia and Maryland.
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