Tea Party activist calls Sen. Snowe 'almost as bad' as Obama, announces primary challenge
February 11th, 2011
09:20 PM ET
12 years ago

Tea Party activist calls Sen. Snowe 'almost as bad' as Obama, announces primary challenge

Washington (CNN) - A Tea Party activist, well known in Maine, announced that he will try to oust his state's senior Republican senator.

And now Andrew Ian Dodge is repeating a favorite line of conservatives: "I consider her almost as bad for the country as President Obama."

On Friday, the Tea Party Patriots' Maine state coordinator announced he'd challenge Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe. And yet his words beg the question: Could the same kind of Republican political warfare that burst open in Alaska and Delaware also happen – in Maine?

Dodge was attending the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, a gathering of some 11,000 activists, including many potential 2012 presidential candidates. He's a 43-year-old, married freelance writer who's never run for statewide office - but says he's worked as an activist around the world.

After his announcement, Dodge spoke to CNN in a telephone interview. He joins Republican Scott D'Amboise, who previously announced a challenge against Snowe.

Explaining his "almost as bad for the country as President Obama" comments, Dodge said, "Because (Snowe)] basically sells out the Republican party."

John Richter, Snowe's chief of staff, reacted.

"It seems ironic that a candidate who says Sen. Snowe is out of touch formally announces his own candidacy at a conference in Washington, D.C. - away from the people in the State of Maine he says he wants to represent," Richter said. "Looking forward, Sen. Snowe has never taken any race for granted and 2012 is no exception - and she is vigorously preparing in all facets."

Snowe is a moderate Republican who's become the focus of conservative criticism for some of her votes.

Among those votes that Dodge criticized was Snowe being the only Republican to side with Democrats when she voted to push the health care legislation out of a committee early in the debate. Snowe did not vote for the final health care legislation.

Dodge's Tea Party-tinged lines of attack against Snowe are similar to the tactics used in other high-profile races where self-proclaimed "true conservative" Republicans battled those considered "RINOs," or "Republican in Name Only."

In Delaware, the Sarah Palin-endorsed, Tea Party-backed Christine O'Donnell claimed to be more conservative than Rep. Mike Castle. O'Donnell won the GOP senate primary, but lost the general election to Democratic Sen. Chris Coons.

And in Alaska, Joe Miller – also backed by Palin and the Tea Party – mounted a long-shot bid against Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski. Miller beat the senator in the state's GOP primary. But Murkowski mounted a write-in bid and won, albeit after a protracted electoral and legal battle.

For his part, Dodge – a long-shot against the powerful and popular Snowe – said that his brand of conservatism gives him a chance.

"I'm more conservative than she is on fiscal issues. But on social issues, I'm not a social conservative who wants to ban everything that's fun," Dodge told CNN.

Regarding abortion, Dodge explained that he supports a woman's right to choose but believes it's a state's rights issue. He would rather abortion be "rare, safe and secure." And regarding gay rights, Dodge said, "As far as I'm concerned what happens between consenting adults is none of my damn business. And it shouldn't be the business of government either."

Those stances may help Dodge in a state that's voted for a Democrat for president in every campaign since 1988. Other potential factors: on Thursday, the Tea Party Express announced that it has placed the senator on its "2012 Tea Party Target List" because of some of her moderate stances. And Maine's current Republican Gov. Paul LePage partly won with prominent Tea Party support.

But in an interview with the National Review Online, LePage said he would "absolutely" support Snowe, citing deep ties with her family. That threatens to drive a wedge between Maine's Tea Party groups: between those that stand firmly behind LePage versus those that want to oust Snowe.

"If you're supposedly a tea partier – and you support Snowe – you have to really look at what your values are," Dodge told CNN. "There's no way, in any sane world, that a Tea Partier can support Snowe. I mean she is the embodiment of a Republican that the Tea party movement exists to challenge."

As for being a long shot against the senator, Dodge said he'd beat long odds before.

Describing his bout with colon cancer, Dodge said, "In 2007, ... I overdosed on morphine after a colon operation. If I can come back from the dead ... that's a pretty insurmountable thing."

–Follow Shannon Travis on Twitter: @shantraviscnn

Filed under: 2012 • CPAC 2011 • Olympia Snowe • Tea Party movement
soundoff (34 Responses)
  1. stevetall

    ... but not nearly as bad as some amateur, tea-party cootie! Honestly, who do these people think they are? Founding Fathers? Not by a long -shot!. Andrew Ian Dodge? Don't make me laugh! Why is it that only the nut-jobs get poitical coverage?

    February 12, 2011 06:35 am at 6:35 am |
  2. Chris

    That's it, keep pursuing ideological purity and party purges until you shrink that tent to the size you can go camping with.

    February 12, 2011 06:43 am at 6:43 am |
  3. Tony in Maine

    These are the same true blue Americans that ransacked a Portland schoolroom they were loaned for their caucus. The teacher wasn't teaching conservative values. The Republican Party – already in stark terror of a few screamers in their midst brushed off the whole incident. I wonder if the kids felt the same knowing their desks and their teachers desk had been searched by strangers.

    Go Tea Party – don't forget your Sam Browne's and your truncheons lest you run across a liberal 6th grader.

    February 12, 2011 06:59 am at 6:59 am |
  4. 2+2=5

    This is hilarious. Yep, lets vote in people that blame Obama, a guy that wasn't even in power when our empire fell apart like a stack of cards. Brilliant. Now, just throwing it out there, this man clearly needs government to tell him what to eat, clearly. Sickening, who is teaching them this crap? They really were born yesterday, literally, that would explain everything!!!

    February 12, 2011 08:08 am at 8:08 am |
  5. Margie

    You know the old saying" going to Hades in a hand basket" the more you see of the people they more you think we are close to getting there. What a bunch of idiots. I think the four or five weeks of this republican controlled house has shown the people they were stupid not to show up to vote and let these creepoids in. Bet some of them won't last the whole two years. See what happened in New York. And there is a gosh darn crook being investigated who will soon be gone, you know the one in Florida.

    February 12, 2011 08:09 am at 8:09 am |
  6. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Actually, Obama has been quite good for our country. Jobs are being created with no help from republicans, taxes are the lowest in 50 years for those who are not billionaires, we are winding down an unnecessary republican war, businesses are making record profits, in 2010, President Obama had more jobs created than Bush did in 8 years, the American automobile industry was saved, foreclosures are down in Florida, there is hope for 50 million uninsured Americans, there are more arrests of illegal aliens than at any time under Bush, we no longer torture, troops are coming home from Iraq, just to name a couple of things.

    February 12, 2011 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  7. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Are all baggers nuts?

    February 12, 2011 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  8. diridi

    why???? bunch of Idiots talk now.....o.k, no sense...at all what so ever....shame...

    February 12, 2011 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  9. Mainer

    Thank you Tea-Party-ers! I just became a HUGE Ian Dodge supporter. If this guy somehow takes down Snowe (a la O'Donnell or Angle, or that Utah dude) that would be a victory for the Democratic party here in Maine. The irony is that Democrats haven't been able to take down Snowe BECAUSE she has been so moderate and reasonable, and this "challenge from the right" is the only scenario in which I can see Maine grabbing a Senator with a (D) next to their name. Also, about Lepage, it wasn't noted how horrified most of the state is with his victory. The only reason he was victorious is that a strong independent and Democrat split the vote, allowing Lepage to win with a percentage in the 30s. Lepage is a wacko and the Tea Party only has clout with the hicks in Northern Maine who own more guns and prejudices than they do teeth or ideas.

    February 12, 2011 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
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