A new political action committee led by the former directors of Ron Paul’s presidential campaign in Maine announced its entrance onto the state’s political scene earlier this week.
The Defense of Liberty PAC plans to be involved in races throughout this election cycle and to weigh in during the upcoming legislative session in Augusta.
The committee will target races across the state by “identifying, supporting and electing liberty-minded candidates to public office,” reads the press release announcing the group’s launch. The mission “is to make Maine a model of economic and personal freedom for the rest of the nation.”
Defense of Liberty’s chairman and executive director, Eric Brakey and David Boyer respectively, are Republicans, but the committee doesn’t plan to support just any Republican. Brakey and Boyer were instrumental in the takeover of the Maine Republicans’ spring convention by Ron Paul supporters, and they plan to support candidates who they see as constitution- and liberty-minded.
The Defense of Liberty PAC, for example, is unenthusiastic about Republican U.S. Senate candidate Charlie Summers. Summers is having trouble generating enthusiasm among the Tea Party and Ron Paul activists who have played a growing role in Maine Republican politics in recent years. Despite the sentiment about Summers, the Defense of Liberty PAC wouldn’t be able to play a role in the U.S. Senate race because it’s a state political action committee.
Defense of Liberty doesn’t yet have a list of endorsed candidates and it hasn’t had to file a campaign finance report yet with the Maine Ethics Commission to give a full accounting of its fundraising. Its board of advisers includes Linda Bean, Maine Tea Party founder Pete Harring, Republican state Rep. Aaron Libby of Waterboro, and Blaine Richardson, who challenged Kevin Raye in the Second District Congressional primary.
While the Defense of Liberty PAC officially launched this week, the group made a brief and unsuccessful foray into Maine electoral politics before the June 12 primary. The committee spent almost $3,000 to help out Washington County Tea Party activist Kathleen Caso, who challenged Rep. David C. Burns, R-Whiting, in the Senate District 29 primary.
Admittedly, it was an uphill battle. Burns is serving his second term in the Maine House and had higher name recognition. Burns had also requested and received an endorsement from Gov. Paul LePage.
Caso lost to Burns, claiming 32 percent of the vote to Burns’ 68 percent.
Update, 10:13 a.m.
Boyer says the Defense of Liberty PAC succeeded recently in Falmouth, where Republicans in House District 112 chose John Logan Jones as their candidate for the November ballot after Patricia Kirby withdrew. Jones was a Ron Paul staffer and is one of Maine’s Ron Paul-supporting delegates headed to the Republican National Convention this summer in Tampa, Fla.
Correction, 10:13 a.m.
This blog post was corrected to clarify that Defense of Liberty had spent money and ordered mailers in the Caso-Burns race before the PAC learned of LePage’s endorsement. The post was also changed to clarify that the Defense of Liberty PAC wouldn’t be able to get involved in Maine’s U.S. Senate race.