Last week brought more national attention for Gov. Paul LePage after he blamed “both sides” for violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, but a less prominent Maine Republican made that case with more vigor and coordination.
That Republican is Mark Holbrook, a counselor from Brunswick who is running against U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, a Democrat from Maine’s 1st District after losing to her by 16 points in 2016 following an only minorly eventful campaign highlighted by a late spat with his primary opponent.
After the violence between white nationalists and counterprotesters in Virginia — where one counterprotester was killed by a car driven into a crowd of people by an alleged Nazi sympathizer — the Republican governor echoed President Donald Trump by saying the sides were equally at fault.
And so too did Holbrook on Friday, issuing a statement saying that white supremacists and people who protest against them “represent opposite sides of the same hate-filled coin.”
He also said Americans must “look at the rhetoric used by public officials, pop-icons, news reporters, and political commentators and how the constant drumbeat of the hyperbole impacts people who are predisposed to violence.”
Last week, he also posted a now-deleted video that compared his 2016 vote totals favorably to those posted by other Republicans — Trump and U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin in 2016 and LePage in 2014 — with images of rockets and an ‘80s rock-style soundtrack.
It may not have been as offbeat as his football-pads commercial from 2016, but these are signs that he’s doubling down on stark conservatism in a Democratic district. It may get him through a primary if there is one, but nothing’s changed to make Pingree look vulnerable.
This item was originally published in Daily Brief, a free political newsletter distributed Monday through Friday by the Bangor Daily News to inform dialogue about Maine politics and government. To read more of today’s Daily Brief, click here. To have the Daily Brief delivered daily to your inbox, click here.