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Reposted from Shenna Bellows for Senate by emorej a Hong Kong

The debates that go on in Washington – how much to cut Social Security, when to start the next round of corporate tax breaks, what Congress can do to make life easier on Wall Street – don’t reflect the lives the rest of us are living. That’s not going to change until we start sending senators to Washington who bring a working class perspective and passion for tackling tough challenges.

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Yes, that Larry Lockman.

Maine State Rep. Lawrence Lockman (R) ... wrote in a letter, "If a woman has [the right to an abortion], why shouldn't a man be free to use his superior strength to force himself on a woman? At least the rapist's pursuit of sexual freedom doesn't [in most cases] result in anyone’s death."

He also said in a past press clipping that progressives were exacerbating the AIDS epidemic by telling "the public that the practice of sodomy is a legitimate alternative lifestyle, rather than a perverted and depraved crime against humanity."

Mike Tipping broke the story of Lockman's extremism.
“In the overwhelming majority of cases, people are dying because of their addiction to sodomy,” Lockman wrote in a 1987 letter to the editor to the Lewiston Daily Sun arguing against funding for AIDS education. “They are dying because progressive, enlightened, tolerant people in politics and in medicine have assured the public that the practice of sodomy is a legitimate alternative lifestyle, rather than a perverted, depraved crime against humanity.”

It was during this period that Lockman first ran for the Legislature, challenging a young state representative named Mike Michaud (now, of course, a U.S. Congressman running to unseat LePage as governor) for the District 134 seat in both 1986 and 1988. Lockman pledged to make health policy on AIDS and “the pervasive influence of militant, politically-organized homosexuals” major campaign issues. He would also call for an end to Maine’s income tax, deeming it “repugnant to American values.”

Lockman's illustrious resumé includes his years as a tax resister:
In 1986, Lockman dressed up like Dracula and stood outside the Federal Building in Bangor in order to protest the “vampire-nature” of the IRS and its “tyranny and police-state methods of tax collection.”
Since his election to the Maine Legislature in 2012, Lockman has learned to dial back his most extreme statements, focusing instead on the more palatable GOP attacks on unions, the working poor, and most especially those 70,000 undeserving Maine uninsured.

Despite these extreme views, Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) is supporting Lockman in his race for re-election. A campaign piece for Lockman features a photo of the two with her endorsement quote. (H/T again to Mike Tipping, who posted the catch on Facebook.)

Collins has even maxed out to his campaign through her Dirigo Pac.

How can Collins call herself moderate when she backs such troglodytes?

Meanwhile, her opponent, Democrat Shenna Bellows prepares for the final stretch of her audacious campaign. She's bringing her grassroots campaign home in the best way possible: Phonebanking with Democratic volunteers in each of the state's 16 counties.

Howard Dean thought of it first – the 50 state strategy, to unite progressives in action in every corner of the country. That’s why I was so excited to kick off our 16-county tour yesterday with Jim Dean, phone banking in Portland.  We have seen what happens when we unite behind the call for change.  Here in Maine, we have seen grassroots movements triumph at the ballot box when we legalized medical marijuana, restored same day voter registration and won marriage equality.

So what’s the most important thing you can do in the next four days to help us win?  Phone bank.  Where can you do it?  Everywhere.

I will be traveling to Democratic headquarters in all 16 counties over the next four days to phone bank with volunteers to Get Out the Vote.

Want to join me for a phone bank? Sign up here!

Can’t join us at a phone bank but want to support the final GOTV efforts? Donate $5 here.


Transcript and commentary here:

Washington Republicans have blocked [President Obama] at every turn. Washington Republicans-- including my opponent, Republican Susan Collins-- have blocked progress on the minimum wage, on equal pay for equal work, on veterans’ benefits, and on campaign finance reform. We’ve seen here in Maine how much damage Republicans can do when they are in control. We’ve seen it in the House of Representatives, where Washington Republicans forced a government shutdown last year. And we cannot afford a Republican majority in the United States Senate. We cannot afford to elect Republican Susan Collins and risk control this year.

...Let them know about same-day voter registration-- something Paul LePage tried to end and we brought back.


Local paper on tonight's 5th & last debate:

Collins believes the country would be served better if Republicans – under Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ken. – control the Senate because McConnell has vowed to allow more debate and votes on bills than Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.
Bellows countered by noting that McConnell, in a private speech to donors that was subsequently leaked to the press, promised to block votes for student loan reform, raising the minimum wage and to gut the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. She said “a vote for Susan is a vote for the status quo.”
This just goes to show you (and 66,766 other viewers) that:

To help continue Blue America's independent expenditure promotion of this video to Maine residents, contributions can be made here:

To contribute to GOTV by Blue America-endoresed ME-Sen Shenna Bellows, SD-Sen Rick Weiland and/or other Progressive Senate candidates, contribution page is here.

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Reposted from Liberty Equality Fraternity and Trees by emorej a Hong Kong

I have criticized the League of Conservation Voters' endorsement of Susan Collins in past diaries. The single most important vote that Collins will cast on the environment is her vote for Majority Leader. She will be voting for Mitch McConnell, and that should disqualify her from support.

So, for that matter, should her support for the Keystone XL pipeline in my opinion. She has a lifetime score of 67% with the LCV, which is only impressive if you are grading on a curve.

Last night, Republican senator Susan Collins and her Democratic challenger former executive director of ACLU Maine Shenna Bellows faced off in a debate.

In one of my favorite moments of the debate, Bellows attacked Collins for her overstating her pro-environment record:

BELLOWS: The League of Conservation Voters rated you a D. It’s the strongest score of any Republican in the US Senate, which demonstrates the stakes and what could happen if Republicans were to gain control of the Senate. But it’s still a D.
Bellows then went on to note that Collins still has not made any statement on Obama's proposed carbon regulations. If she is such a pro-environment candidate, shouldn't she have something to say?

Collins began by going back to a prior point of debate about a bill she introduced in 2011 (the EPA Regulatory Relief Act) to exempt biomass boilers from the Clean Air Act. In other words, she began by not answering the question.

COLLINS: So it appears that my opponent still would have imposed those original EPA regulations on biomass boilers industrial boilers that schools, hospitals, our wood mills all rely on. That’s just irresponsible. And EPA modified them because they knew they were far too expensive and in some cases not technically possible.
Here's how the LCV describes the House companion bill to what Collins proposed:
[T]he so-called EPA Regulatory Relief Act of 2011....would indefinitely delay long-overdue air pollution control standards for industrial boilers and incinerators, which act as small, in-house power plants and emit toxic air pollution including mercury--a potent neurotoxin especially dangerous to pregnant women and children--and cancer-causing dioxins.  These facilities are the nation's third largest source of mercury emissions.  Every year these standards are delayed would mean up to an additional 8,100 premature deaths, 52,000 asthma attacks, and 5,100 heart attacks.
Then when Collins got to Bellows's actual question, she still didn't really answer:
As far as the president’s new regulations on carbon pollution, I have voted repeatedly to allow EPA to regulate carbon pollution, but these regulations are in the initial stage, and I want to hear what the stakeholders have to say. That’s the way the process works. You get comments on proposed rules, and that leads to better rule-making. And it would be irresponsible to take a position before that process has been completed.
Collins was just defending her prior effort to delay a proposed rule by the EPA. That was intervening during the comment period. Apparently, to Collins, it was okay then, but somehow "inappropriate" now. Susan Collins just doesn't want to say anything so that she doesn't have to irritate the LCV and EDF on one side or her oil and coal baron friends on the others. And that's not leadership. Maine can do better.

In the second ME-Sen debate televised statewide on MPBN Shenna Bellows (D-ME) presses Sen Collins (MINO- ME) on her record. In her straightforward manner, Bellows points out a number of votes that Collins is trying to airbrush.

During the debate, Bellows said Collins proposed an increase to $9 “because $21,000 is too much. How would you feed a family on $18,000 a year?”

Collins agreed that $10.10 an hour is “not a livable wage. I’m curious what you think a livable wage is, because clearly a minimum wage wouldn’t produce a livable wage. It would have to be higher than $10.10.”

Collins further said she proposed $9 “because the independent Congressional Budget Office says that if we [go to $10.10] that it would cost our economy some 500,000 jobs — and those are largely going to be jobs held by low-income people, so I don’t think that’s the answer.

Bellows fired back.

“Thirteen states did raise minimum wage this year and saw job growth more than states that did not raise the minimum wage,” she said. “So that scare tactic suggesting the jobs are going to be lost if the minimum wage were increased are simply not borne out by the evidence. There is something deeply wrong when members of congress who make more than $174,000 a year think that $10.10 an hour is too much.”

 Obamacare, PAC money and more foolishness below the fold.

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After last night's strong performance in start of home stretch of 5 debates n 9 days, Shenna Bellows strikes first (4 hours ago) with this strong 30 second ad:

From incumbent Susan Collins:

1. Nothing up yet on Collins' website, Facebook or twitter.

2. Collins does not appear to have enough content or organization to move quickly during this frantic home stretch that Collins herself demanded by delaying the start of debates.

3. Either her campaign is too disorganized to have prepared in advance a follow-up to the first debate, or the contents of that first debate ruined their advance plans and they are scrambling to made adjustments. One thing that seems unlikely is that they are still complacent now, although they certainly were until the last month or so.

4. This failure is particularly striking because Collins raised enough money to release professional advertisements every hour between now and when the polls close on November 4 (unless she complacently contributed too much to Republican extremists, or perhaps in fees to buddies or her "non-lobbyist"  husband at his K Street address).  


Last night was the start of 5 debates in 9 days.  The first one was taped and posted on local TV website here:

Summary of my reaction to the debate video:

1. Bellows looked ready and able to serve as a strong US Senator (which must be an issue for some Mainers in view of Bellows' youth). Collins did not look as weak as she has in some other TV appearances, but was less impressive than Bellows in most ways.

2. The contrast in their closing statements was like a parody of a comparison between a visionary politician and a ward-heeler. Collins spoke last and could have made an adjustment to add just a little bit of vision to partially match that of Bellows, but instead stayed with a pork-barrel script.

3. Bellows firmly but smoothly and gracefully took every opportunity to highlight numerous points that reinforce her campaign narrative, especially Collins' enabling and supporting the "wrong" policies and obstructionism of Republicans, including summing up:

"A vote for Susan is a vote for Republican gridlock".
4. Bellows nailed the argument that minimum wage stimulates workers' purchasing power and thus local economies, and that Republican predictions of job losses were based on "misrepresentation" (which is Collins' favorite word this cycle) of the research cited to make these predictions. More importantly, Bellows linked employment levels back to her campaign theme of the
need for investment in economic infrastructure, including rural broadband and mobile phones.
There was no knock-out, but Bellows reinforced her puncher's chance, which Collins has clearly recognized, and has sought to minimize by delaying and minimizing debates. as was recently highlighted in this music video (now above 20,000 views):

Maine incumbent Senator Susan Collins is the latest Republican Senate candidate to have her warts spotlighted engagingly by an independent music video -- embedded here:

The revised lyrics to this early Beatles' standard highlights the fact that, as Digby neatly put it:

Susan Collins ... has turned herself into a parody of bipartisanship
In contrast, as Digby neatly sums up:
The experience of working with people across the political spectrum on issues of fundamental American values and constitutional principles made Shenna Bellows a person who can reach across the aisle with integrity, respect and common purpose to get things done.
The music video's poster, Blue America PAC, has:

An explanation here of why and how they have posted it, and

A link here to contribute help finance promotion of the video.

This video and blogposts are part of the product of Blue America having:

focused on a small handful of races where we feel there’s a legitimate shot to replace a conservative with a progressive.

Contributions to Shenna Bellows and Blue America's other endorsed Progressive Senate candidates) can be made at this link.

That list includes SD-Sen Rick Weiland, whom they supported early and often -- support that included the music video embedded below, which has been viewed on Youtube more than 36,000 times:

Reposted from Illegitimi non carborundum by Illegitimi non carborundum

This diary is not about the latest outrage from the Republicans, or the handicapping of the horse races. This is for those of you (us) on the ground, working with the lifeblood of campaigns: the volunteers.
The folks who are giving up their evenings to phone bank.
Their Saturdays to canvass.

Putting their own lives on hold, if just for a few hours (but sometimes over and over) to help us get our team elected.

As we enter the final stretch in all of these hundreds of campaigns, let's take a couple of minutes for a shout-out to these indispensable individuals.

And let's have some love too for the dedicated, usually-young and always-energetic Field Organizers and interns who are out there rounding them up, putting them to work, patting them on the back, and working tirelessly for the candidates they believe in.

Head to your local HQ this week and thank the volunteers. Better yet, stick around and join them!
That's how we win.

But just as importantly- that's how we play the game.

Share your favorite stories of volunteers and volunteering below!

H/T to the great field team at Bellows for Senate for the video.


Just in time for Halloween.

Author, philanthropist, and Bangor resident cut an ad for his favorite candidate this year.

Much more below the fold.


This ad is:

0%0 votes
15%7 votes
84%38 votes

| 45 votes | Vote | Results

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Shenna Bellows is re-writing the book on how to run against a popular incumbent. Nicely. and by that I mean, in a friendly manner. All too often the DNC or outside groups will come into a state and run ads with dark, grainy photos and ominous music and voice overs. The result is mixed, turning off as many voters as are motivated by them. In Maine, these don't go over well and allow the attacked to play the "they're picking on me" card (standard playbook for Collins even as her team plays with Rove rules).

Bellows has found a way to point out Collins' many failings without offending or being "mean". Her ads are personal in that they use actual former Collins' voters and volunteers to highlight why they are voting for Bellows this time around.

This is about as "mean" as Bellows' ads get.

Bellows' fundraising pitches are also atypical in that they don't try to scare folks with over the top, gloom and doom, the sky is falling rhetoric. These are informative and personal, a tough thing to do but effective.

DC Dems and consultants could learn a thing or two, and I think we would be all the better for it if we remember those voters that we can reach live in our towns too. Bellows has been rising steadily in the polls as voters have gotten to know her, and Collins' numbers have dropped over 15 points since June when these ads first began to run.

If you agree with this friendlier way of running a campaign you can support Bellows at

Act Blue

Find out more about Shenna Bellows here

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