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

    Tea baggers are uneducated extremists who wouldn't know the Constitution if they tripped over it. The only part they know is the 2nd Amendment – so they can carry concealed weapons everywhere. They are not smart enough to represent anyone in our Congress. Just look at Michele Bachmann – didn't even know the most basic information about American history. Doesn't even know who the Founding Fathers are....and she is in Congress??? These tea baggers are scary!

    February 11, 2011 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  2. GonzoinHouston

    What will destroy the Tea Party is two years of watching them in action. Go ahead Dodge, run. Let me know how that works out for ya.

    February 11, 2011 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  3. mslulu

    OH! So now we have people wanting to be public servants only so they can BEAT OBAMA? Do what?? What is wrong with these people? Have they no other purpose other than strictly to regain power??!! They have NO SHAME People! They will stop @ NO COST to BRING SHAME & Abomination to Obama just so they can have power again? I mean isn't that a form of TERRORISM? ON the people that pay for the Government??? This IS A DEMOCRACY People!

    February 11, 2011 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  4. they call me "tater salad"

    Now there's a fine example of what an uneducated, mis-informed, Tea-bagger looks like......Hey Jethro, smoke weed much?

    February 11, 2011 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  5. dem forever in nc

    He even looks like a loser!!! Who do these tea bag bigots think they are anyway? Right wing, radicals who know nothing.

    February 11, 2011 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  6. they call me "tater salad"

    Oh, and nice scarf with the skull and crossbones on it, that must be your feeble attempt at showing us all what a bad-ass you are, did it by any chance come with matching spiked leather wristbands and a chain wallet? Guy looks like a regular at the local Head Shop!

    February 11, 2011 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  7. DAVE

    i injoy the skill and bones around his neck in this picture! i am trying to remember were i have seen the skill and bones figure on a uniform some where before! hmmm!

    February 11, 2011 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  8. Clwyd

    The only thing I see wrong for this country is letting the teabuggers lose form their mental hospitals! God save us from them!

    February 11, 2011 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  9. John

    Making one less senate race a hassle for Democrats to pick up in 2012 while riding the wave of disgust over republicon mismanagement and lies will be greaty appreciated. It means the sane people can concentrate their efforts more on winning toss up seats and adding to the Democratis majority.

    February 11, 2011 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  10. Aaron

    Snowe is one of the few senators of any party that actually looks out for the benefit of her constituents. Of course, the Tea Party loons would have an issue with her since she's not working for the billionaire Koch brothers like the rest of them. I'd be interested to see if Dodge recently came into any large amounts of money.

    February 11, 2011 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  11. Silence Dogood

    Love the last two paragraphs. Says a lot about him.

    "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.""

    So...a reformed drug addict? Coming back from the dead...that's a Christian allegory likening him to Jesus? Any other relevations you want to share?

    February 11, 2011 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  12. Ron

    Snowe is one of two or three "moderate" Republicans left in public life. Sad. Let's see if she survives.

    February 11, 2011 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  13. smum

    I only pray that these two senators are not featured in a new Palin's crosshairs map or find themselves subject to the TP's beloved second ammendment remedies. God bless and protect them from the right wing madness.

    February 11, 2011 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  14. Joe B-b-b-b-bob

    Glad you beat the cancer, dude, but you're obviously still on drugs. Take some time, clear your mind. . . .

    February 11, 2011 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  15. GLO

    Wow, let's see if the people of Maine keep their brilliant Olympia Snowe, or if the epidemic of ignorance has enveloped Northern New England too.

    February 11, 2011 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  16. Mikey

    That's it. Drive every rational person out of the party. Hey for all you persecuted moderates, there's room in the tent on the other side of the aisle. GOP – 25% of the population and shrinking fast.

    February 11, 2011 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  17. ER

    Please learn how to use the phrase "beg the question" properly. It does not mean what you think it means.

    February 11, 2011 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
  18. fayse

    The tea party aka John Birch Society needs to go away. I admire and revere true Christians but I abhore extremist wackos pretending to be Christian. A true Christian does not hate their brethren, that is unchristian.

    February 11, 2011 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  19. Root and stem

    No doubt CNN is digging into this guy's colon cancer issues in an attempt to smear him somehow. Shame on CNN for letting itself be pimped by Obama.

    February 12, 2011 12:08 am at 12:08 am |
  20. peace

    Whywould anybody in their right mind vote for a drug addict. this guy sound like that drugster rush lard @ss and glenda beck.

    February 12, 2011 12:37 am at 12:37 am |
  21. gumba

    This good looking guy's got what it takes to win,....I can see it in his eyes. Ha, what a flake!

    February 12, 2011 01:33 am at 1:33 am |
  22. Texas Doc

    I can almost see the cheetos stains from here. Be a man dude. Tea Parttys are for little girls with imaginary pals.

    February 12, 2011 02:26 am at 2:26 am |
  23. jepo

    Wow Dodge sounds awsome! A true fiscal conservative, while respecting people's freedoms from govt. President hopeful perhaps????

    February 12, 2011 02:52 am at 2:52 am |
  24. Pretzel Logic

    So he shares many views with Snowe i.e abortion and gay rights, but he's a "conservative" and she's "RINO". Such is the (il)logic of the Tea Baggers.

    February 12, 2011 04:12 am at 4:12 am |
  25. Irma in North Carolina

    If this tea party gang and Sarah and fox gang stick around very long they will start and uprising like is happening in Egypt. I hope I am not around to see it.

    February 12, 2011 06:12 am at 6:12 am |
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