Wednesday, December 11, 2013
By PATSY WIGGINS
Have we in Maine suddenly stepped back into the Dark Ages?
Cynthia Dill, seen June 12, when she won the Democratic U.S. Senate primary, earned her place on the November ballot and has no reason to step aside, her campaign says.
2012 File Photo/Shawn Patrick Ouellette
Apparently that is where Greg Kesich, editorial page editor for the Portland Press Herald, currently resides.
In his Sept. 26 column, he called for Cynthia Dill, the Democratic nominee in the U.S. Senate race, to pull out, to abandon her supporters and to throw the race to independent Angus King. He said Cynthia Dill needs to leave the race so that Angus King can win.
Kesich claims "an early exit by Dill would shake up" the U.S. Senate race, which apparently needs to be done because "the ghosts of 2010 remind us of what happens when three-way math is imposed on a two-party system."
This is a joke, right? This is Opposite Day at the Press Herald?
Opinions are great things, but they are no substitute for facts. And here a few to consider:
Democrats lost the 2010 gubernatorial race because the Democrats failed to get enough voters to the polls. It's called a "voter turnout strategy." The Democrats didn't have one. They lost.
Cynthia Dill won a primary race.
So did Republican Charlie Summers.
Both have earned their places in the general election thanks to passionate supporters and loyal voters.
The "spoiler" here is neither Dill nor Summers. The spoiler is Angus King.
If anyone needs to pull out of the race for a principled reason, it is Angus King, who put Maine in this position in the first place.
So if you are going to cast blame, aim in the right direction.
Cynthia Dill, the only woman in this race, is an experienced policymaker, an astute and intelligent state senator and an award-winning, hardworking civil rights lawyer with a long list of accomplishments.
She is not a "comeback" candidate coming out of retirement for a second hurrah. She is the new generation of Maine leadership and she is charting her course the old-fashioned way -- earning it, election by election, step by step, with no old boys' network to help with shortcuts.
Yes, the race is tightening. Yes, the more that Maine voters see Cynthia Dill, the more they like her new ideas, her spirit, her commitment to fight for our middle-class families.
Yes, she is a champion of the 99 percent of the rest of us, and not a member of the One Percent of the Super-Wealthy Club to which Angus King belongs.
And all that success means that she should exit the race? That argument makes no sense.
Maine people aren't the fearful type. We don't dread a robust political race. We don't wilt in the face of competition.
I have lived and worked in Maine for many, many years. I've come to know that Maine people are quite capable of making up their own minds about who's best for the job -- thank you very much.
Maine has produced great women lawmakers such as Margaret Chase Smith and Olympia Snowe -- women of principles, ideals, strength and ethics. Women who had to make it on their own, who succeeded by the power of their intellect, energy and their true concern for Maine people. Isn't that what we want in a U.S. senator?
Seems to me what Kesich is really saying is that Angus King can't stand the heat, and doesn't want to be in the kitchen. He wants to find a shortcut to the men's drawing room and settle into a big comfy chair marked "U.S. Senator."
Cynthia Dill is here to win and to serve. She won't back down, won't "throw the race" to King and won't abandon her supporters.
Maybe King just needs to work harder. I know it will be tough, but it is something we women have done our entire lives.
Patsy Wiggins is a media consultant to the Dill for U.S. Senate campaign.