“Personally, I don’t believe that the tea party movement as a whole would support Andrew Ian Dodge at all. He has not been a major player in Maine,” Harring told Roll Call on Monday, adding that Dodge would likely face problems in a general election, even should he survive a GOP primary against Snowe. “I think that the press would have a field day with him, just because of his connections over in England — there’s questions about whether he’s a citizen or not.”
The Republican strategist said that even if Dodge were well-funded, most Maine voters would struggle to connect to him. The strategist mocked Dodge’s ponytail and called him “grungy” and “weirdly ideological.”
But Dodge, who says he is a citizen (born in New York), acknowledges that he does not fit the profile of a typical Senate candidate. He said he found it “predictable” that critics would attempt to tarnish his reputation.
A 42-year-old freelance writer, Dodge lives with his ailing mother in Harpswell, but he has spent significant time in England off and on since childhood. He writes for various publications, including the Washington Examiner and music review websites.
Dodge, a graduate of Colby College and England’s Hull University, once considered running for local selectman, but he has never actually run for elected office. He volunteered for a number of campaigns more than a decade ago, including two in England.
“I’m basically a hired gun,” he said. “But I only work for people I believe in.”
Public polling continues to suggest Snowe is vulnerable to a challenge from the right.
Sixty-three percent of Republicans polled in September would have chosen a more conservative alternative to Snowe if given the opportunity, according to a poll by the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling. And while she is popular among independents and even some Democrats, just 39 percent of likely Republican primary voters approved of the three-term Senator’s job performance.
But Maine conservatives have yet to find the right candidate, Harring said.
“If we’re going to go up against Olympia Snowe, we need to find a candidate that’s not only able to take her out in the primaries but also win in the general election. That’s the key,” he said. “At the moment, that’s pretty much the problem we have — locating somebody who has big enough name recognition and money. She’s got tons of it. At the moment, there isn’t anybody that really stands out.”