Politics

November 1, 2012

Three long shots have low profiles, lofty ambitions in U.S. Senate race

Intriguing backgrounds add heft to their determination to battle waste, excess and incompetence in government.

By John Richardson jrichardson@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

click image to enlarge

U.S. Senate candidates Steve Woods, left, Danny Dalton, center, and Andrew Ian Dodge.

Gordon Chibroski / Staff Photographer

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These file photos show Maine candidates for U.S. Senate in the November 2012 general election. Top row left to right: independent Danny Dalton, independent Andrew Ian Dodge and Democrat Cynthia Dill. Bottom row left to right: independent Angus King, Republican Charlie Summers and independent Steve Woods.

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"He was calling out the state Republican establishment ... for exactly what I saw with my own two eyes," Baker said. "He's not a smooth operator. If you ask (Dodge) a point blank question, he gives you a point blank answer."

Dodge hopes to surprise political observers with stronger-than-expected support from disaffected Paul supporters and libertarians. Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson has endorsed him.

No matter the outcome, Dodge said he is energized by politics and has enjoyed watching the unusual Senate race from the inside.

"I wake up every day and say, 'What the hell is going to happen today?" he said. "How often do you have the Republicans buying TV ads for the Democrat, the national Democratic Party not helping their nominee and indirectly helping the independent? ... I've never seen a campaign this bizarre."

'TO GET THESE ISSUES ON THE TABLE'

Dalton, 56, is a former intelligence specialist with the Army and Air Force who went on to travel the world as a federal agent and civilian contractor chasing down terrorists and drug smugglers.

He might still be protecting national security if he hadn't finally got fed up with what he describes as waste and dysfunction within the agencies that are supposed to be keeping us safe.

Dalton now lives in Brunswick and is the deceptively mild-mannered owner of a shop in Bath called The Sea Hag. He uses the store to help run a toy manufacturing business that he shares with his brother.

But Dalton can't leave his former career behind, which is why he decided to run for the U.S. Senate.

He tells long, detailed stories about having tracked down Taliban commanders in Afghanistan and drug smugglers in Pakistan and El Salvador, only to see federal agencies fail to act.

He was a Drug Enforcement Administration agent and an employee of Blackwater, a private security company that Iraqis ordered out of the country after an incident in 2007 left 17 civilians dead.

After Dalton left the security business, he continued to gather intelligence from his old contacts, at his own expense. When he tried to share the information with the federal government -- including the specific location of Taliban commanders -- he again got nowhere, he said.

Eventually, Dalton said, he tried to share some of his information and complaints with Maine's senators, Snowe and Susan Collins. He met with their staff members but said his leads and complaints still went nowhere.

"You should be at least paying attention to your constituents who have a background in those areas," Dalton said.

He decided to run against Snowe as a way to expose the waste and dysfunction and the failure of the two-party system.

"The two parties are the real problem when it comes to this. The senators' role is to confirm responsible leadership to run these agencies," Dalton said.

Richard Doyle, a friend of Dalton's who lives in Pennsylvania, worked as a contractor on some of the same anti-drug cases and said Dalton has good reason to be so determined.

"If I weren't involved in it, I would never have believed it. It's a waste of money and they don't want to do a thing," Doyle said. "He just kept bumping his head."

The Senate campaign hasn't provided exactly the kind of platform or results Dalton was hoping to get. He has a hard time laying out the case against the DEA during candidate forums that are more focused on issues such as job creation and the Affordable Care Act.

But Dalton, who has an MBA, has rounded out his campaign with opinions that go well beyond law enforcement. He says money is a core problem in politics, for example, and has refused to take any campaign contributions. And he favors tax reform to help bring jobs back from overseas, among other things.

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