October 5, 2012

Maine Republicans attack candidate for playing World of Warcraft

By Michael Shepherd mshepherd@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

WATERVILLE -- The Maine Republican Party is taking a Democratic state Senate candidate to task for playing a popular online game, calling her participation in "World of Warcraft" her "online fantasy world."

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An image of Colleen Lachowicz's character in World of Warcraft.

State Senate candidate Colleen Lachowicz uses the character Santiaga, top photo, in the online role-playing game “World of Warcraft.” Republican criticism of her game-playing attracted attention from news websites such as Politico, Huffington Post and NBCNews.com.

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TO READ reaction from World of Warcraft fans about the Maine Republican Party's attack website, visit our Capitol Ticker blog.

FOR MORE INFORMATION visit World of Warcraft Mist's of Pandaria website

State Republicans have created a website and released a corresponding mailer detailing the online gaming history of District 25 candidate Colleen Lachowicz of Waterville.

The mailer also accuses her of making "crude, vicious and violent comments" on a liberal blogging website.

A Maine Democratic Party spokeswoman responded by criticizing Lachowicz's opponent, incumbent Republican Sen. Thomas Martin of Benton, citing more than $13,000 in fines levied against his construction company by the federal government since 2005.

Lachowicz -- running for the seat representing Waterville, Winslow, Albion, Benton, Clinton, Detroit, Pittsfield and Unity Township -- is a high-level player of "World of Warcraft," an online role-playing game that takes place in Azeroth, a fantasy world, the Republican website says. 

The Republican site links to Lachowicz’s gamer profile, showing her character, Santiaga, and attributes a long list of blog posts on liberal website DailyKos.com to Lachowicz.

"I think it's weird that they're attacking me in this way instead of talking about the issues," Lachowicz said in an interview at a supporter's home Thursday evening. She said she hadn't seen the site, but didn't dispute any of the findings. She issued a statement to Huffington Post and other news outlets.

"Instead of talking about what they're doing for Maine people, they're making fun of me for playing video games," she said in the statement. "Did you know that more people over the age of 50 play video games than under the age of 18? As a gamer, I'm in good company with folks like Jodie Foster, Vin Diesel, Mike Myers and Robin Williams. Maybe it's the Republican Party that is out of touch."

"They're attacking her for playing a game 12 million people play," said Lizzy Reinholt, a spokeswoman for the Maine Democratic Party. "This has nothing to do with policy."

The Republican website also posted Lachowicz's blog posts on the liberal website.

In one criticism of Republican tax policy, Lachowicz wrote: "I may have to go and hunt down" conservative activist Grover Norquist "and drown HIM in my bathtub."

Some of the posts sharply criticize Republican Gov. Paul LePage. One says she doesn't want LePage "anywhere near her" and said she "was in his office once and felt like I had to shower after I left."

Another criticizes him for campaigning for governor "on being a French orphan," referring to his stories of being homeless in his youth in Lewiston.

"Of course, I've never known any 11 year olds that can support themselves except through drug dealing or sex work, and I work with kids," she writes. "Odd that we never heard any of this when he was the mayor of Waterville."

Lachowicz said the posts were made on a blog with a group of like-minded acquaintances.

"People who know me know the policies that my opponent and others have put into place are the reason I decided to run for public office," she said. "I think these things were taken out of context."

Dan Demeritt, a political consultant who was LePage's first communications director, said that although the blog comments were fair game politically, the Republican effort to dig into Lachowicz's online history crossed a line and won't turn many voters against her.

(Continued on page 2)

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