PROVIDENCE, RI – Audio from a fundraiser held by Sara Gideon in October of 2019 has revealed that Gideon, the Speaker of the Maine House of Representatives, called Rhode Island “home” as she solicited funds from Rhode Island donors to run her campaign in Maine.
“Um, all of you Rhode Islanders, thank you for welcoming me home tonight,” says Gideon in the audio, which was recorded at a fundraising event in Providence, Rhode Island on October 18, 2019.
“I can’t really express to you what it means to come back to the place where I was born and raised and spent so many wonderful formative years of my life,” continues Gideon. “Because really the person that I am today is everything about the years that I experienced her growing up.”
Gideon, who is running for U.S. Senate in an attempt to unseat Senator Susan Collins, has downplayed her relatively recent move to Maine after living in Rhode Island and New York for most of her life.
When tweeting out the audio, Senator Susan Collins’ campaign team called Gideon “Rhode Island’s Own”, tweeting that, “Rhode Island’s own Sara Gideon made it clear where her heart is on a recent trip home…one more indication that her focus is not on Maine.”
Along with tweeting about Gideon calling Rhode Island home, @TeamCollins also has pointed out how many New York, Massachusetts and Rhode Island liberal groups are coordinating to bombard Mainers with phone calls on behalf of Gideon’s campaign.
In one instance, the Gideon campaign directly deployed their campaign calling software to Rhode Island so a group called “RI for Sara Gideon” could call Mainers and tell them how to vote. That calling campaign was scheduled for August 20, 2020.
Other groups that have coordinated calling campaigns to call Mainers and tell them how to vote are:
-Democratic Women of Westport, Connecticut 8/26/2020
-Manhattan Young Democrats 8/25/2020
-Progressive Schenectady (New York) 8/25/2020
-Hell’s Kitchen (NYC) 8/22/2020
-Planned Parenthood (Washington D.C.) 8/19/2020
-Georgetown University Democrats 8/19/2020
-Moms Demand Action (New York City Anti-Gun Group) 8/16/2020
-Democratic Women of Westport, Connecticut 8/12/2020
-Progressive Schenectady (New York) 8/11/2020
But bombarding Maine voters with calls from outside Maine is not the only activity being undertaken by Gideon’s campaign and outside groups.
In addition, several groups have held other events. On July 22, “Swing Left Rhode Island” and “Swing Left Boston” held a “Virtual Kick-Off” for Gideon, which Gideon attended. The group Indivisible also teamed up with other groups outside Maine also held a training to help Gideon’s supporters develop “personal testimonials” for Gideon in early August.
Gideon has taken criticism for her inaction during the COVID-19 crisis, refusing to reconvene the legislature and essentially ceding all authority to Governor Janet Mills. During the time Gideon has allowed the legislature to remain inactive, she has raised millions of dollars for her campaign, mostly from out-of-state, while tens of thousands of Mainers struggled to get unemployment benefits, keep small businesses alive, or faced reduced hours and paychecks due to government restrictions.