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 Newsweek.com, 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.