The anti-gay marriage side's first ad is up.
I am suddenly very afraid of slow-motion Deb Simpson.
The AP reports that the recount in the District 15 state senate race has ended with Democrat Deborah Simpson up by 104 votes, two votes more than her margin on election day.
The final count is 10,058 to 9,954.
Chuck Quintero from the Maine Senate Democratic Campaign Committee sends over an anti-Snowe-Mello radio spot playing in District 15 and provides this comment:
We think this is an issue that is pertinent to voters of District 15. Lois Snowe-Mello has lied to voters about her role in the puppy mill and changed her story, voters need to know about that. How can they trust her to stand up for them if she protects the special interests. This is a clear distinction between Deb and Lois. Deb was against puppy mills and Lois was protecting the owners, who are now fugitives from the law.
Time and time again Lois Snowe-Mello has made the wrong choice when it comes to standing up for those most in need, whether it be the atrocities of a puppy mill or her vote to take away healthcare from more than 18,000 Maine families. It is clear that special interests come first for her.
On the other hand you have Deb Simpson who has worked hard on behalf of those without a voice, the most at risk among us. Deb has supported increased regulation and enforcement of puppy mills and kennels, worked hard stop local governments from seizing Mainer’s property and turning it over to big developers, and protected some of the most vulnerable Mainers by keeping guns out of the hands of convicted domestic abusers.
Listen to the ad here.
At Down East this week, I attempt to wrap up the Snowe-Mello puppy mill stuff into one coherent package. The American Journal article cited is subscription-only, unfortunately.
www.iwasaluckyone.com is a new website created by the Maine Democratic Party offering a look at Senator Snowe-Mello's record on animal welfare. It may also be the first time an adorable puppy has been used in an attack ad.
I found the site through traffic from an outgoing link to my post on Snowe-Mello's disagreement with the Sun Journal about her actions opposing the rescue effort at a Buxton puppy mill. It's not clear how the party intends to promote the site in District 15.
Looks like the District 15 state senate race alone could keep me busy until the election. The latest from the race is more info on the independent expenditure from the Maine Democratic Party that led to $13,000 in matching funds being transferred to the campaign of Republican incumbent Lois Snowe-Mello and a potential fine being levied against the MDP.
It turns out the expenditure in question was for two mailers meant to be "issue advocacy". The Maine Clean Elections Act states that issue advocacy (which doesn't trigger matching funds) can mention a candidate but not specifically promote their candidacy. According to the MDP's lawyer, the vendor they hired altered the designs without informing the party and included the phrase "Deb Simpson for State Senate." This changed the mailers into "express advocacy," necessitating an immediate report to the ethics commission and a $13,000 disbursement to Simpson's opponent.
Here's one of the proofs the MDP says they signed off on:
And here's the version that was sent (change highlighted in red):
The party is contesting the fine levied against them based on their lack of knowledge of the designer's mistake until after the mailers were sent. Their case will be heard on Monday.
Despite the costly mistake, the party is still using the Louisiana-based vendor for other expenditures.
Robert Fisk, President of Maine Friends of Animals sends along this ad, which the organization is running in the Sun Journal as an independent expenditure (click to enlarge).
The group's involvement is obviously a response to Snowe-Mello's actions during the Buxton puppy mill rescue operation.
Fisk explains MFOA's reasoning for entering the race:
Maine Friends of Animals promotes the humane treatment of animals through education, advocacy and legislation (and politics). We are a 501 c4 which allows us to be more politically engaged. Besides our newspaper ads, MFOA has members and supporters calling and putting up road signs for Rep. Simpson. Two of us handed out Simpson literature at the New Gloucester Fair this past weekend. We encourage members to write letters to the editor. This is our focus race – it elects an animal-friendly Senator and also defeats one of the worst legislators on animal welfare. We have stressed to our members and others that many state Representative and Senate races are won by less than a few hundred votes. We want to do whatever we can get Rep. Simpson elected to also send a message to candidates that there is an organized animal protection voting bloc out there. If others wish to join our efforts contact us at email@example.com.
My Down East post this week takes a look at the Senate race in district 15. This should be a very close one, and both candidates have been working hard for months.
If you'd like to know more about Snowe-Mello's positions, check out the extensive collection of op-eds on her website.
Simpson also has a (much nicer) website, which includes this interesting mini-documentary about her first run for office and use of clean elections funding.
In Spetember, 2007 Senator Lois Snowe-Mello, (R-Poland) accused state animal control officers of being corrupt and faulted them for rescuing 250 animals from a puppy mill in Buxton. She stated: "What is happening in this state is like Gestapo methods of controlling people and kennels, breeders, pet centers." The quote prompted this cartoon from PolitickerME:
I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest that being anti-puppy is not a good way to win an election, which is likely why Snowe-Mello is now desperately attempting to portray herself as pro-puppy. A letter writer in the Sun Journal today notes that she has also sent out a mailer to her district touting her supposed pro-puppy credentials, and slams her for hypocrisy.
This issue might be good for a laugh in a different senate district, but in the 15th, it's serious business. Snowe-Mello barely held on to her seat in 2006, winning 51% of the vote, and she faces an even tougher challenge this year from Democratic Representative Deborah Simpson of Auburn.
It's possible that this election and perhaps even the balance of power in the senate could be decided on the issue of puppies.