Maine GOP Hits Monks Hard

The Maine GOP sent out a release today disowning former State Republican Party Chair and three-time Republican US Senate candidate Robert A.G. Monks.

Chairman Mark Ellis and House Minority Leader Josh Tardy rightly point out that Monks has given more money to Independents and Democrats than Republicans lately, but that's not the main focus of the release. The main claim they make is that Republicans want nothing to do with him because of his campaign tactics.

"If Bob Monks is the kind of player the Obama campaign wants to associate with, they can have him," said Maine Republican party Chair Mark Ellis. "Monks has a long career of attacking Republicans, even Maine’s beloved U.S. Senator Margaret Chase Smith. Monks’ kind of tactics and games are not something with which the Republican Party wishes to associate. Republicans haven’t considered Bob Monks a Republican in years." [...]

In 1972, Robert A.G. Monks ran in the primary for U.S. Senate against incumbent Republican Senator Margaret Chase Smith. In December of 1971, just before he officially announced his candidacy, Monks had 74 roses delivered to Sen. Smith on the Senate floor on her birthday – pointing out her age as an encouragement for her to retire. It was an inappropriate and tactless message from an immature and politically inexperienced Monks to send to a highly respected woman and U.S. Senator who had served Maine well for decades. Monks [sic] tactics did not go over well with Maine people.

Those tactics did go over well with Maine Republicans, however. They chose him as their nominee for US Senate in 1976 and leader of their party in 1977.

Even more than two decades later, in another Senate race in which the GOP now lambastes his questionable political tactics, Monks had rock-solid support from the Republican party (and this was after he had supported Independent Angus King in 1994). In fact, party leaders even starred in an ad for him. Here's the script:

Announcer: "Why do we need Bob Monks in the U.S. Senate?"

State Senate President Jeff Butland: "Let's face it, things in Washington are a mess."

House GOP Leader Walt Whitcomb: "Bob Monks has taken on the establishment and won in Washington."

Georgia Chomas of Auburn: "Bob Monks is a leader."

State Sen. Peter Mills of Skowhegan: "Bob Monks is incapable of becoming merely one of the crowd."

Clare Payne of Holden: "He's met a payroll, he's provided jobs."

Charles Webster, former Senate GOP leader: "I like the fact he's run a business."

Butland: "Bob Monks will go down there . . . he will say no to the special interests . . . get the deficit in line."

Harvey Berman of Cape Elizabeth: "I think he'd make a great senator."

Mills: "He's another Bill Cohen."

Announcer: "Bob Monks for U.S. Senate."

Mills: "He'll be a marvelous leader for Maine."

The accusation that he now often supports Democrats is right on the money, but the claim that the GOP has always abhorred his campaign tactics is laughable.

Hat tip: Politicker ME