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Sara Gideon skips debate, attends fundraiser with “Defund the Police” billionaire

Graphic tweeted by @teamcollins on Twitter when exposing Speaker Sara Gideon’s decision to skip a televised debate in favor of attending a virtual fundraiser hosted by Tom Steyer, the largest funder of the Defund the Police movement.

FREEPORT – Sara Gideon’s priorities in the final days of the Maine Democratic Primary for her party’s U.S. Senate nomination appear to be more about money and the national agenda of left wing groups and less about talking to Maine voters.

On Wednesday, Gideon skipped a televised debate with WMTW, leaving her two opponents to debate without her. The reason? Gideon was attending a virtual fundraiser with billionaire Tom Steyer and a small group of other candidates at 8pm instead of talking to Maine voters.

Steyer is the former Democrat Presidential candidate whose non-profit, NextGen America is funding and promoting the Defund the Police movement. Along with donations to groups advocating for defunding the police, NextGen America is promoting a petition that asks Americans to sign and send to their elected officials, saying “As your constituent, I urge you to use your power to defund and demilitarize police forces across the United States.”

The alliance has not gone unnoticed by Senator Susan Collins’ campaign.

“Maine House Speaker Sara Gideon is skipping yet another Democratic primary debate — this time so that she can attend a fundraiser with California fossil fuel billionaire Tom Steyer’s political group,” says an email from the Collins campaign.

Steyer is a leading backer of the “Defund the Police” movement and he has committed $2 million in staff and resources to getting Gideon elected.

While Gideon has been critical of wealthy donors and corporate PAC money, a steady stream of news since her announcement has shown she is more than willing to accept millions in financial support from similar sources that she has often claimed to oppose.

In a tweet earlier this week, Steyer, who hails from San Francisco, was exposed for having donated three times the maximum amount allowed under federal campaign finance laws to Gideon, donating $11,200 more than allowed to Gideon’s campaign.

Gideon also took heavy criticism this week over reports her husband’s personal injury law firm applied for and received a payout $1 million to $2 million from the Paycheck Protection Program, which was authored by Senator Susan Collins and is credited with saving hundreds of thousands of Maine jobs. Gideon has run ads harshly criticizing the program while not disclosing her family was personally benefiting from it. Gideon’s husband Ben is listed as a partner at the law firm.

The WMTW debate is not the first debate Gideon has skipped. In fact, Gideon has only participated in one debate in the primary. Opponents have suggested Gideon is following Chuck Schumer’s “windowless basement” strategy, which essentially means that candidates favored by Schumer’s national organization avoid exposure to voters while raising as much money as possible, allowing national influence to secure the nomination for them.

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