Voters in a Waterville-area state Senate district are opening their mailboxes to a political mailer from the Maine Republican Party that mocks Democratic state Senate candidate Colleen Lachowicz for spending an inordinate amount of time playing the online game World of Warcraft.
Online, World of Warcraft players and other online gamers have come to Lachowicz’s defense, and she’s become a fundraising cause for those bitter at the Maine GOP for going after a candidate for her online gaming habits.
The Maine Republican Party last Thursday announced it had put together a website, a Twitter profile and a political mailer highlighting comments Lachowicz has made online under her World of Warcraft alias. Those comments included remarks that she “may have to go and hunt down Grover Norquist and drown him in my bath tub” and that, as a “level 68 orc rogue girl, … [t]hat means I stab things . . . a lot.”
The GOP also mocked her for reaching the highest possible level in World of Warcraft, a feat one normally attains after playing the game for 22.7 hours per week, according to the party.
Lachowicz is challenging Republican Sen. Tom Martin in Senate District 25, which covers the Waterville area. The Maine GOP says voters should have access to all the information they can get about candidates, and the party says comments Lachowicz has made online raise questions about her judgment and maturity.
The story about her online gaming habits took off instantly. Lachowicz defended her online comments in an interview with CNN on Friday, the BBC took interest, and the Washington Post, Huffington Post, the New York Daily News and dozens of other outlets have all reported on the political drama.
On her Facebook page, a number of Republican gamers from out of state decried their party’s attacks on Lachowicz for her gaming habits. And on her website, a number of Britons voiced their support for the Waterville Democrat.
Lachowicz’s friends in the gaming community also came to her aid and started collecting funds on her behalf through the website ActBlue. So far, the effort has generated more than $5,900 in contributions for the Maine Senate Democratic Campaign Committee and MPA Campaign Vote!, a political action committee affiliated with the Maine People’s Alliance.
Since Lachowicz is receiving public funds for her campaign under the Maine Clean Election Act, she can’t accept direct campaign contributions.
For her part, Lachowicz said it’s “weird” that Republicans would make online gaming an issue, rather than their record in Augusta over the past two years.
“Instead of talking about what they’re doing for Maine people, they’re making fun of me for playing video games,” she said last week.