Monday, March 10, 2014
Republican Charlie Summers and Democrat Cynthia Dill traded jabs Thursday over the controversial statements of a state representative from Jay.
Rep. Paul Gilbert, D-Jay, raised questions about the qualifications of Gov. Paul LePage's nominee to serve as a military representative on the board of the Finance Authority of Maine. Christopher Pierce, who was ultimately confirmed, served in the National Guard in the 1970s when the guard was not considered military service, according to Gilbert, who is a U.S. Army veteran.
Summers, a commander in the U.S. Navy Reserve, issued a written statement today saying Gilbert's comments were disrespectful to those who made sacrifices in service to the country. And he called on Dill, a state senator, to denounce her fellow Democrat.
"State Senator Dill’s silence on this issue has been saddening as well. I would hope Senator Dill would see her way clear to point out the error of her colleague’s ways,” Summers said in the statement.
The Republican's criticism of Dill might not be a surprise, except that Summers and Dill have so far focused most of their criticism on independent frontrunner Angus King. Summers needs Dill to rise in the polls and pull Democratic voters from King to give him a better chance to win. A Republican group backing Summers has even been running a television ad touting Dill in an effort to help her and hurt King.
While Summers and Dill may be ganging up on King most of the time, they clearly don't see eye to eye. In her response to Summers, in fact, Dill made it clear that she doesn't appreciate the Republican group's help.
"First, I voted to confirm Christopher Pierce to the Finance Authority of Maine's board and I wish him much success," Dill said. "Second, a GOP Super PAC airing ads in Maine is trying to speak for me and thereby usurp my First Amendment rights. If Charlie Summers has a disagreement with something Rep. Paul Gilbert said, then Charlie Summers needs to talk to him."
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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.
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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.
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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.
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