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 2)

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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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Dalton thinks that running for Senate was the right decision, though the campaign has been frustrating at times.

"It's always worthwhile to do your best to try to get these issues on the table," he said.

He said the recent attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, is one more example of the dysfunction he witnessed in his former career.

"This wasn't a problem because of the Obama administration," he said. "These are systemic problems that have been going on from party to party and from election to election."

'WE OWN THIS DEMOCRACY'

Woods, 53, is the owner of TideSmart Global, a group of six marketing companies based in Falmouth.

He also is chairman of the Yarmouth Town Council, a part-owner of the Maine Red Claws basketball team and the host of a radio talk show (Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on WLOB-AM).

Woods' career began right after high school, when he became road manager for the Amazing Kreskin, a famous mentalist who performed around the world. He went on to be an agent for professional athletes and president of Pierce Promotions, a Portland-based event marketing firm.

In 2003, he started his own experiential marketing companies, which produce live events such as product sampling booths and mobile health screenings for such clients as Lindt, Chevron and the U.S. Tennis Association.

One of Woods' companies, for example, operates the truck and tour accompanying celebrity chef Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution, a traveling nutrition campaign and reality television show.

TideSmart employs nearly 100 people, and the size and success of his company is something Woods emphasizes at every opportunity during campaign appearances.

"Despite what every other candidate says, none of them have companies that hire people. None of them are involved with small business. I own six small businesses," he said.

A big man with a big personality and a big ego, Woods can be a show-stealer in candidate forums. He is both funny and cutting, usually at the expense of the Republican in the race, Charlie Summers.

He complained publicly about being ignored by the media during the campaign, and warned privately that critical coverage could hurt his business.

His fate as one of "the lesser-known candidates" may have been sealed when former Gov. King jumped into the race and stole his wind as the independent candidate running against partisan gridlock.

In fact, Woods formally endorsed King early in the campaign, but nevertheless continued to run.

Woods said he has stayed in the race partly because he enjoys running the campaign with his 13-year-old daughter, whom Woods introduces as his campaign manager.

But Woods, who is known for having a lot to say, still has a point to make. If Americans aren't happy with do-nothing politicians in Washington, he says, they have only themselves to blame, for electing people who look good or sound good but are not competent.

"We the voters, the citizens of the country, we own this democracy," he said. "I think it's ridiculous for us to solely blame the politicians or the government. ... It's about selecting people at every level (of government) who are competent to do a very challenging, very complex job."

Woods has clearly proven himself competent in the business world.

"He is a very smart guy," said Wendy Ayotte, an executive at Casco Bay Ford and leader of the Yarmouth Chamber of Commerce, who has supported Woods' campaign because of his diverse business experience. "No matter what area you are in, he has a connection."

Fellow Yarmouth Town Councilor Leslie Hyde said Woods is respected in town government for his smarts and his leadership.

"He's a self-made, extremely successful guy and he's very personable and very articulate," she said.

Woods sometimes uses 50 words when he could use three, she said, but he also listens and is willing to change his mind. "He genuinely cares what's best for the town."

Woods would not say if he will use his experience as a Senate candidate to launch any more campaigns for office.

"It's been one of the most enriching experiences in my life," he said. "It's also been one of the most frustrating."

Staff Writer John Richardson can be contacted at 791-6324 or at:

jrichardson@pressherald.com

 

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