Rick Tyler, a former executive director of the Maine Republican Party, was fired by Republican presidential hopeful Ted Cruz on Monday. Associated Press File Photo

When Rick Tyler was forced to step down Monday as the national spokesman for  Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign, defenders of the longtime Republican message man rushed to his defense, citing his long and respected resume in national politics.

Tyler’s four-year stint as the executive director of the Maine Republican Party was not mentioned in the plethora of media stories detailing his sudden departure from the Cruz campaign after he posted an erroneous story that falsely alleged that Marco Rubio insulted the Bible. But the Maine connection is real, even if Tyler, a New Hampshire native, doesn’t list Maine as a past destination on his Facebook page, where he first apologized for the post.

Tyler was the executive director of the Maine Republican Party between 1995 and 1999. It wasn’t a particularly dominant period for the party, but it wasn’t weak, either. Independent Angus King was governor. Bill Clinton was president. Still, Maine Republicans had the edge in the state Senate and a tie in the House of Representatives between 1995 and 1996 before giving up control to the Democrats between 1997 and 2000. Republican James B. Longley Jr. was the 1st District congressman – and no, that’s not a typo. Republican U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe were in the early stages of their dominant runs in Congress.

Prior to the 1998 election Tyler successfully persuaded U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich to speak at a rally in South Portland. While some local pundits questioned whether bringing the conservative firebrand here alienated independent voters, the move worked out well for Tyler. He became Gingrich’s spokesman a few months later, joining the D.C. office in June 1999. Tyler later served as Gingrich’s spokesman during the Republican’s 2012 presidential bid. The former speaker’s campaign had a rocky start, prompting a slew of unflattering coverage. Tyler later swooped in to provide the Huffington Post with what became one of his more memorable quotes:

“The literati sent out their minions to do their bidding. Washington cannot tolerate threats from outsiders who might disrupt their comfortable world. The firefight started when the cowardly sensed weakness. They fired timidly at first, then the sheep not wanting to be dropped from the establishment’s cocktail party invite list unloaded their entire clip, firing without taking aim their distortions and falsehoods. Now they are left exposed by their bylines and handles. But surely they had killed him off. This is the way it always worked. A lesser person could not have survived the first few minutes of the onslaught. But out of the billowing smoke and dust of tweets and trivia emerged Gingrich, once again ready to lead those who won’t be intimidated by the political elite and are ready to take on the challenges America faces.”

“But out of the billowing smoke and dust of tweets.” Quite an image.




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