THE WOMAN CARD

Quick thing: did you notice how in her press release, Dill cried "gender bias" regarding the Sierra Club endorsement? We did, and it made us raise our eyebrows.

Dill is not afraid to call attention to her gender or that of her opponents. "Women's representation in the US Senate is at 17 percent," she says. "Right now the US Senate is made up of elder, super-wealthy, white men."

Nor is she shy about her dismay about conservative polices related to women's issues. "The platform of the Republican party is to roll back women's rights," she said at a campaign stop last week.

Like King, and unlike Summers, Dill is unsurprisingly pro-choice.

ODD ADS

Ridiculous political advertisements are nothing new, of course, but this particular race has presented some . . . unique situations.

For one thing, consider the Maine Republican Party's statewide mailer, sent out last month, superficially blasting Dill's progressive record as a supporter of same-sex marriage and a "tree-hugging environmentalist." The mailing could easily have been interpreted as a plea to Dill's Democratic base. Before that, at the end of August, a Republican political action committee was airing ads on TV that highlighted Dill's support for raising Maine's minimum wage (as governor, King vetoed a similar effort).

Why are Republican groups wasting their time talking about Dill's record, rather than Summers's — or, at the very least, that of King, who is their main opponent? Simple. Republicans hope that by taking progressive votes away from King and giving them to Dill, Summers could eke out a lead.

Dill doesn't appreciate the backhanded support. At their core, the ads are "exploiting and trying to deceive you," Dill told a group of seniors in late September.

King hasn't gotten off scot-free, not by a long shot. According to Politico, the National Republican Senatorial Committee has spent more than $650,000 on television ads alleging that King used his connections in Washington DC to secure a $102 million Energy Department loan guarantee for a wind project in Roxbury, Maine (the same loan program funded the controversial, and failed, Solyndra solar endeavor).

The former governor made just over $200,000 on the deal, according to his campaign, and sold his share of the company in March. He wonders who funded the attack ads, which he has requested be pulled from the airwaves: "Who are the people who are so afraid of Angus King coming to Washington?" he asked at a Disability Rights Center forum in Augusta last week.

Meanwhile, Dill hasn't raised enough money to run any TV ads yet. The national Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee announced it would spend $410,000 on television ads in Maine starting this week, but the ads are expected to be anti-Summers — not pro-Dill.

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