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Republican Erick Bennett announced his candidacy for U.S. Senate on Monday in Portland.
Senator Susan Collins' (R. ME) Tea Party challenger ladies and gentlemen:

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/...

A conservative candidate running against Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) in the Republican primary argued that his decision to fight his domestic violence conviction in court showed his integrity.

The candidate, Erick Bennett, a consultant in Portland who worked on the anti-marriage equality push in 2012, made the argument Monday at a press conference. He discussed his Senate campaign, his time serving for Maine Gov. Paul LePage's (R) campaign in 2010 and his domestic violence conviction.

"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," Bennett said. "I've noticed some people questioning that." - TPM, 1/3/14

Here's a little more background info:

http://bangordailynews.com/...

Bennett was convicted of Class D assault in a 2003 District Court ruling after attacking his wife. The two since have divorced.

He fought the conviction until 2004, when it was affirmed by the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, which ruled that “the court did not commit clear error or abuse its discretion in excluding irrelevant evidence at trial,” and that “sufficient evidence does exist in the record to support his conviction.”

Still, Bennett claims he is innocent and said the justice system is stacked against alleged attackers in domestic violence cases. When asked about his specific case, he said he was “railroaded” by the court after declining to accept a plea agreement.

“All that needs to be done is you have to repeat what you wrote down in the police report and that allows the victim to be viewed as a credible witness,” he said. “So basically, if someone writes something down, it doesn’t have to be true. All they have to do is repeat that on the stand. … That’s grounds for anyone to be convicted of domestic violence.”

Bennett said Collins had supported laws that made it easier for victims to obtain convictions, but would not give any specific examples of which laws. He said he could provide specific information at a later date. - Bangor Daily News, 12/30/13

And here's some more info:

http://www.salon.com/...

In the same piece, Bennett was also quoted criticizing Collins for voting in favor of legislation that supports victims of domestic violence in obtaining convictions against their abusers, including, presumably, the Violence Against Women Act. As you probably remember, a number of Collins’ Republican colleagues opposed the formerly bipartisan measure because of its expanded protections for Native American women and LGBT women.

And to show that he isn’t a single issue misogynist, Bennett has also called Maine Rep. Michael Michaud a “closet homo.”

When asked to describe his political ideology, Bennett remarked that he is “pretty much a cut-and-dry Republican,” which sounds about right. - Salon, 1/3/14

Here's another way to prove how ridiculous Bennett is:

http://www.slate.com/...

Bennett's right that he doesn't back down: He made an impressive show of drawing out everyone's misery by battling his conviction in court until the Maine Supreme Judicial Court shut him down in 2004, denying his claim that the court treated him unfairly. Bennett has also insinuated the Collins is a supporter of laws that supposedly railroad innocent men, though he's dodgy about what laws he's referring to.

Despite the possibility that Bennett, if elected, could provide Maine residents with Rob Ford–levels of entertainment, Republican party officials in the state are already trying to distance themselves from him, pointing out unpleasant facts like he probably lied about working as a staffer for Gov. Paul LePage and some of his social media photography is ridiculous. - Slate, 1/3/14

It remains to be seen if Bennett can actually unseat Collins.  The Maine GOP establishment is distancing themselves from his campaign and claim Bennett isn't a credible candidate.  But with Maine GOP voters preferring a more conservative candidate over Collins it's hard to tell at this point.  Luckily for us, we have a great progressive candidate in former Maine ACLU head, Shenna Bellows (D. ME).  If you would like to get involved with Bellows campaign, you can do so here:
http://bellowsforsenate.com/

Originally posted to pdc on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 02:00 PM PST.

Also republished by BellowsforSenate, The Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party, and This Week in the War on Women.

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