The last few election cycles have offered campaign watchers quite a motley crew of far-right Senate candidates. The cast of characters – Angle, Mourdock, Akin, Buck, O’Donnell, et al – doesn’t include any winners, but it does feature some candidates who are tough to forget.
Will the 2014 cycle offer similarly memorable conservatives? It’s too soon to say, though Erick Bennett, who’s taking on Sen. Susan Collins in a Republican primary in Maine, appears well worth watching. Amanda Marcotte explained why.
Bennett was convicted of domestic violence in 2003 after attacking his wife, who has since divorced him. While this sort of thing traditionally turns voters off, Bennett is employing an unusual strategy by wielding his conviction as evidence that you should vote for him in Maine’s Republican primary.“The fact that I have been jailed repeatedly for not agreeing to admit to something I didn’t do should speak to the fact of how much guts and integrity I have,” he exclaimed to the press, trying to convince them that his lying ex-wife set him up for reasons unknown. “If I go to D.C., I’m going to have that same integrity in doing what I say, and saying what I do, when it comes to protecting people’s rights, as well as their pocketbooks.”
According to a report in the Bangor Daily News, Bennett also told reporters this week that his domestic-violence conviction has helped encourage him to pursue a “pro-family” agenda.
I’ve met many campaign aides over the years who’ve boasted that just about anything in a candidate’s background is survivable with the right spin. But this Republican Senate candidate appears to be testing the limits of this thesis.
When was the last time anyone saw a credible statewide candidate argue that being “jailed repeatedly” is proof of his “integrity”?
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Senate candidate has been 'jailed repeatedly'