Thursday September 06, 2012 | 06:26 PM

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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Open Season is your guide to the 2014 campaign. Our team of political writers has its sights set on Maine’s major elections, from the Blaine House to the U.S. Capitol.

Steve Mistler is covering the 2014 governor's race. He covers politics and government for the Portland Press Herald. He spends a lot of time in the hallways of the State House.
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Eric Russell is covering Independent Eliot Cutler during the 2014 governor's race. He is a general assignment reporter for the Portland Press Herald.
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Matt Byrne is covering Republican Paul LePage during the 2014 governor's race. He covers Falmouth, Cumberland, North Yarmouth, Yarmouth and Freeport for the Portland Press Herald.
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Randy Billings is covering Democrat Mike Michaud during the 2014 governor's race. He covers Portland City Hall for the Portland Press Herald.
Randy can be reached at 791-6346 or
On Twitter: @randybillings

Kevin Miller is covering Maine's U.S. Senate race and 1st Congressional District race. He covers politics and government for the Portland Press Herald.
Kevin can be reached at 317-6256 or
On Twitter: @kevinmillerdc

Michael Shepherd is covering Maine's 2nd Congressional District race. He is a news and State House reporter for the Kennebec Journal.
Michael can be reached at 621-5632 or
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