As right-wing nuts go, Poliquin is on the mild side. He tends to shy away from the wackier conspiracy theories, while never allowing himself to be overly burdened by facts. Most of what he says sounds almost reasonable. In a Republican primary, he could be formidable — if it weren't for one little problem:
Voters don't much like him.
In his unsuccessful runs for governor (2010) and senator (2012), he spent approximately a zillion dollars, but couldn't beat competition composed mainly of — to be as polite as possible — schlubs. If Poliquin should somehow defeat Collins in a bonker-dominated primary, he'd face a much harder slog in the general election, where fewer voters are certifiably nuts.
Unless, that is, the Democrats didn't take the race seriously and nominated a schlub of their own.
Even if Poliquin doesn't win the GOP nomination, he could damage Republicans' chances. If his conservative attacks force Collins to shift to starboard to protect her flanks, she'd do so at the risk of damaging her moderate image. If she appears too willing to bend on crucial issues, a lot of Democrats and independents who gave her favorable ratings in that poll could start looking for alternatives.
Schlubs don't make attractive alternatives.
No matter what happens between now and election day in 2014, the chances Collins will prove vulnerable remain slim. But even slim chances are worth preparing for, just in case lightning — or Poliquin — strikes. To be ready, Democrats need a first-rate candidate, who can take advantage of whatever scenario presents itself.
As for the party's surplus of schlubs, there are always openings in the Legislature. ^
Don't be a schlub. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.