Congratulations to President-elect Barack Obama.

Allen campaign calls race “in play” thanks to internal poll

The Bangor Daily News, my hometown paper, released the results of a poll today for the Maine senate race between Senator Susan Collins and Representative Tom Allen. If you’re not from Maine, you may vaguely know the race started off generating a ton of interest by out-of-state organizations such as MoveOn.org, but it has since been relegated to the lower tiers of watched races, as poll after poll have shown a large lead by Sen. Collins over her challenger, Rep. Allen.

Today’s poll completely supports the entire vibe (and the several other polls) in the race so far, this time with Collins leading Allen by 55-39 in a poll of 675 “likely voters” by the Daily News and local news stations WCSH and WLBZ.

In a textbook attempt to respond to these poll numbers (or actually, not respond to them), Allen spokesperson Carol Andrews told the Bangor Daily News that:

“Reliable polling conducted internally [by the Allen campaign] shows this race to be very much in play and far closer than those margins.”

Of course, no specifics were included with her comment. Possibly because Andrews is mis-representing her campaign’s polling in order to try and de-emphasize the media report. If that’s the case, it’s an unfortunate example of posturing on behalf of Allen’s campaign. If the internal polling is true, why not release the numbers in an effort to try and boost Represenative Allen’s standing in the race?

To try and resolve this question, I reached out to Andrews and the Allen campaign and see if they want to qualify their claims that internal polls show Rep. Allen much closer to Sen. Collins in the race.

In response to Andrews’ claim, here’s the email I sent to the Allen campaign’s press department today:

Dear press dept:

In today’s Bangor Daily News, Allen For Senate campaign spokesperson Carol Andrews stated that “Reliable polling conducted internally shows this race to be very much in play and far closer than those margins.”

Please send me specific results from the poll(s) referenced by Andrews, along with dates and sample. I will be happy to publish this data on my blog so that the people of Maine can see what Andrews is claiming about the race.

Thank you for your consideration.

Best,
Jason

I’ll post an update here if I receive any response.

Google removes anti-MoveOn.org ads; but did they do it too easily?

Just weeks after forcing a CafePress.com shopkeeper to stop selling t-shirts referencing their name, far-left liberal activist group MoveOn.org has struck again, this time successfully lobbying search giant Google to take down anti-MoveOn.org advertising which referencing the group’s recent attacks on Maine Senator Susan Collins.

Robert Cox broke the story in today’s DC Examiner, as he described the efforts of Senator Collins’ Internet director, Lance Dutson, to list the anti-MoveOn.org ads with Google:

Internet giant Google has banned advertisements critical of MoveOn.org, the far-left advocacy group that caused a national uproar last month when it received preferential treatment from The New York Times for its “General Betray Us” message.

The ads banned by Google were placed by a firm working for Republican Sen. Susan Collins’ re-election campaign. Collins is seeking her third term.

Earlier this week, Google told Lance Dutson, president of Maine Coast Designs, that the ads he placed for Collins had been removed and would not be allowed to resume because they violated Google’s trademark policy.

Google’s Web site states, “Google takes allegations of trademark infringement very seriously and, as a courtesy, we’re happy to investigate matters raised by trademark owners.” That suggests Google acted in response to a complaint by MoveOn.org.

As Cox notes (in my bolded emphasis), if I assume Google’s intentions as pure until proven evil, I can then only assume that they were contacted by MoveOn.org and pulled the ads in compliance. As far as I can tell, that’s the only way to explain why literally thousands of other ads with trademark “violations” remain on Google searches, including this one for “Blackwater”, also the name of a private security firm whose recent actions in Iraq have come under scrutiny.

Unless, of course, Google is quicker to support its political allies in their efforts to crush dissent via questionable trademark law?

Lance has more, including a chat transcript with a Google rep. And of course, this story will blossom as the various parties at fault work diligently to cover it up. Stay tuned!

Disclosure: I occasionally partner with Lance on various projects.

Allen misses 19 votes in one week for “political activities”

Tom AllenWhile Congressman Tom Allen has been busy chastising fellow Maine lawmakers for how they voted in a post on Maine liberal blog Turn Maine Blue, he has missed 19 votes in Congress over the course of the past week, instead choosing to pursue “political activities”.

According to Allen communications director Mark Sullivan, the Congressman missed the 19 floor votes in the U.S. House on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of this week because he was “engaged in political activities” that took him away from Washington. When pressed whether “political activities” means that Allen was campaigning for the U.S. Senate instead of voting, Sullivan deferred the question to Allen’s campaign staff.

Allen is challenging Senator Susan Collins for her senate seat. Collins is one of just ten senators who have not missed a vote so far during this congress.

UPDATE: Congressman Allen’s whereabouts for at least part of the week have been discovered. According to a diarist at liberal blog MyDD, Maine’s 1st district representative was in Pacific Palisades, California earlier this week at a fundraising event for his senate campaign:

A couple of evenings ago I took the plunge and blew most of this year’s donation budget to spend an evening a fundraiser for Democratic Congressman and candidate for the U.S. Senate seat in Maine currently held by Susan Collins, Tom Allen.

The format of the event was an hour of heavy hors d’oeuvres and drinks to allow for mingling and conversation, including the Congressman, followed by a buffet dinner with seating in the back yard of an elegant home in the Pacific Palisades.

ANOTHER UPDATE: The Maine Republican Party has picked up on the story, issuing the following press release today:

The U.S. House this week reconvened to consider issues important to our nation such as Terrorism Risk Insurance and affordable housing. But Maine’s 1st Congressional district was lacking something important: representation in the U.S. House of Representatives. Tom Allen missed an additional 19 votes this week so he could spend more time campaigning, bringing his totalof missed votes to 129. .

Maine Republican Party Chairman Mark Ellis said, “We were relieved when Tom Allen returned to work today to learn that he is good health and we welcome him back. But to miss 19 consecutive votes in a row for fundraising and campaigning more than a year before the election is inexcusable. This shows that Congressman Allen cares more about being a candidate than he does about doing his job.”

Chairman Ellis concluded, “The House of Representatives has only had votes on 9 of the last 45 days. Congressman Allen missed three of those days of voting completely. Couldn’t he have scheduled his campaign events for the other 36 days? I think Mainers deserve to know the answer to the question, ‘Where was Tom.'”

Collins launches campaign website

Eager to capitalize on recent negative press surrounding her opponent Tom Allen’s association with far-left activist group MoveOn.org, Senator Susan Collins’ re-election team launched an early version of the campaign’s official website this week.

SusanCollins.com

SusanCollins.com features videos, photo galleries, and blog. On Collins’ site, the freshly launched blog features a post written by the Senator herself regarding her questioning of Army General David Petraeus.

Senator Collins’ campaign site bears some striking differences from that of her opponent, Congressman Tom Allen. While Allen occasionally blogs at DailyKos and Maine-based blog TurnMaineBlue, his site does not have any kind of blog of its own. Another notable difference is that while Allen’s site focuses heavily on his opposition to the war in Iraq (he even devotes a top-level navigation item to the issue, despite having a separate section on his positions) with three front page items on the war, Collins site instead more heavily focuses on her connection to Maine, via a series of rotating images and news items, while just a corner of the front page is devoted to a video detailing her position on Iraq.

Beyond the clam bakes and parade walks over the next year, the online space will be a critically important battleground in this race. This week, the Collins campaign got off to a great start.

Debate video report: Congressman Ron Paul

Next up in the series of Republican Presidential debate video reports Lance Dutson and I filed is an interview with Ron Paul, who is so far capturing much attention online and at events such as Wednesday’s debate, yet has not translated that enthusiasm into poll numbers. Lance talked to Congressman Paul about that, among other things: