Saturday, February 12, 2011

Tea Party activist to challenge Sen. Snowe

As long expected, Maine Tea Party Patriots coordinator Andrew Ian Dodge has announced his intention to challenge Sen. Olympia Snowe in the Republican primary next year.

I wrote about Mr. Dodge earlier this winter at, as he is perhaps the most visible figure in a Libertarian effort to fend off the Christian Right's growing influence in the Tea Party movement. Social issues, he argues, don't matter; getting government out of people's lives does. While no fan of Maine's Tea Party-backed governor, Paul LePage, Dodge is also hostile to Sen. Snowe, who he denounces as Republican In Name Only.

Steve Mistler of the Lewiston Sun Journal did a fantastic profile of Mr. Dodge shortly after my piece came out that revealed, among other things, that he's independently wealthy. (Hypothesis: Libertarianism comes more naturally to people who've been born into material comfort.) In October, I wrote this piece for Newsweek on why Snowe and Maine's junior senator, Susan Collins, may be vulnerable to a challenge from the right.

On the face of it, Dodge's candidacy appears Quixotic. He's taking on a popular, entrenched, fabulously wealthy Senator from the right, but will likely garner little support from social conservatives or the anti-intellectual crowd. But, then again, a year ago I didn't think Paul LePage had a chance of being elected governor.

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