A Tea Party Takeover: Maine Politics Turn Ugly
Something is going on over at Maine Patriots, one of the leading Web sites for members of the Maine Tea Party.
In a message to all members last night, site owner Amy Hale told a strange tale of intimidation:
I was cornered in the parking lot by 10+ people and told that bad things would happen to me if I did not give them the password and hand over Maine Patriots. Therefore, I no longer have control of Maine Patriots.
In a forum thread on the site, member Robert Wayne Horr responds with some more information but no real answers:
Amy is fine The letter is real. More info to come but not tonight
A message posted on the sister site Maine Refounders provides some more details, including that this appears to be an internal Tea Party dispute and that the police are now involved:
It saddens me to have to make this announcement. Yesterday, a group of members of Maine Patriots extorted the passwword and took control of Maine Patriots' website. Amy is working with the parent site Ning to correct this. A police report is being filed.
Please keep Amy Hale in your thoughts and prayers. She will need our support to get through this. If you have any questions, please call or email me or Robert. We are staying in touch with Amy.
On both a political and anthropological level, this will be interesting to watch. No word yet on if or how this will affect the newly formed Tea Party offshoot The Maine Patriot Militia, which, thankfully, has “no intentions of starting any civil unrest or attempting to over throw our govt.”
It seems to have flown under the media's radar, but the congressional candidates in the second district had their first public squabble last week. Michaud for Congress campaign director Greg Olson sent out an email to supporters titled “Integrity Matters” in which he made the following accusation:
Unfortunately, not everyone understands the importance of integrity. Mike’s opponent in Maine’s Second Congressional District race has recently started attacking Mike in radio and print ads, claiming that he is out of touch with what Mainers want. Among his charges, he says that Mike voted for the bailout even though his constituents were firmly against it. That is partly right. Voters in the second district did oppose Wall Street bailouts. However, Mike did too. He read the bill and found that it lacked accountability, did not curb massive executive bonuses and contained very little to prevent a future economic crisis. Mike was tired of slick Wall Street insiders making money while risking the well being of Main Street America, and that is why he voted No. You wouldn’t know it if you listened to Mike’s opponent, though. Obviously integrity isn’t important to him. Apparently the truth is an acceptable casualty when you only care about promoting yourself and winning elections.
Although he takes care not to name him in the email, Olson is referring to ads by Michaud’s Republican opponent, Jason Levesque. He explains in a follow-up email:
Unfortunately I no longer have a copy of the print ad. It appeared on the Sun Journal website last Friday. I pointed out the inaccuracy to them and it has since been changed. Had I not done so, I imagine the ad would still read: Bailout, Stimulus, Health Care Reform Mainers Said No, Michaud Said Yes. [...]
The radio ads are still playing and are available on our opponent's website. Unlike the web ad, they don't call out Congressman Michaud by name but it certainly implies that Mike voted for the bailout.
The radio ad can be accessed on Levesque’s site here and here’s the revised online ad, courtesy of Sun Journal Web editor Pattie Reaves:
[sic, all quotes above]