Saturday, March 8, 2014
(Updated with response from King)
Maine Republicans are calling out former Gov. Angus King for going to Washington, D.C., today to rub elbows with big-name fundraisers and lobbyists.
Charlie Webster, the GOP Chairman, criticized the independent U.S. Senate candidate for decrying special interests in Maine and then leaving the state to ask for their money.
"This is the height of hypocrisy - telling the working people of Maine one thing while at home, but doing another in Washington D.C.," said Charlie Webster, Maine GOP chairman. "This is exactly the kind of say one thing, do another attitude that Americans are sick of in Washington."
Webster also pointed out that the lead organizers of the benefit are lobbyists for oil and pharmaceutical interests as well as big Democratic fundraisers. "It's increasingly clear that 'independent' Angus King isn't so independent after all," he said in the release.
The King campaign responded with a written statement saying he has to be prepared to fend off efforts to defeat him by the parties and partisan special interest groups.
"This is the beginning of what we expect to be a real dogfight and I will need to defend myself," he said. "I take no joy from this and hope to work to reform our election finance laws if I am elected to the Senate."
King also said in the statemnt that he is making no promises to donors about siding with Democrats. "As I said at a fundraising event in Washington in June and as was reported in Politico -'If you’re a solid partisan and you need to know what caucus I’m going to be with, don’t give to me now because I may not be with you.' "
Washington D.C. power couple and longtime Democratic supporters Tony and Heather Podesta are hosting the Capitol Hill fundraiser this evening and King will be the beneficiary.
The Republican news release cites quotes from King when he ran for governor and said that being an independent meant he could reject help from “special interests,” including PACs.
King is not snubbing political action committees in his Senate campaign. He has received more than $63,000 in donations from PACs, including the American Association for Justice PAC, Engineers Political Education Committee, the American Health Care Association PAC and Google netPAC.
Also, King is the only candidate in the Senate race to so far get help from a so-called super PAC, a committee that spends independently on as candidate’s behalf rather than donating to the campaign directly and being subject to disclosure rules and contribution limits.
A super PAC called IcPurple, spent more than $23,000 as of last month to produce a television and online ads supporting King.
King has said he would discourage all super PAC help if the other candidates do the same. Democrat Cynthia Dill responded that she wanted more details about the idea before making any commitment, while Republican Charlie Summers dismissed it as a gimmickTweet
Open Season targets all of Maine's political wildlife, from Portland city government to the donkeys, elephants and independents stalking the Statehouse and U.S. Capitol.
John Richardson joined the Press Herald in 1990 after working as a reporter in New Jersey. He has covered a variety of beats, including marine issues, the environment and health care. He is now covering politics and focusing on Maine's U.S. Senate race.
John can be reached at 791-6324 or email@example.com
On Twitter: @jrichmaine
Colin Woodard has covered politics and elections for more than two decades, from Bosnia and Bucharest to Washington, D.C., Augusta, and Portland City Hall. He has written for a wide range of national and international publications and is the author of four books, including "American Nations," a history of North America's regional cultures. He joined the Portland Press Herald at the end of April and covers political finance and lobbying, among other things.
Colin can be reached at 791-6317 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Susan Cover has covered Maine politics for 10 years and worked in Kansas, Ohio and Rhode Island as a reporter. This year, she is focusing on covering the same-sex marriage debate for MaineToday Media.
Susan can be reached at 621-5643 or email@example.com
Michael Shepherd joined MaineToday Media in May 2012 after graduating from the University of Maine in Orono, where he edited The Maine Campus, the student newspaper there. Until November he'll be writing the Truth Test, a recurring feature analyzing political statements and advertising.
Michael can be reached at 621-5632 or firstname.lastname@example.org