The Bangor Daily News reports that Democrat Colleen Lachowicz has secured her seat in District 25 of the Maine State Senate on Tuesday after receiving support from gamers around the world. She defeated one-term Republican Sen. Thomas Martin of Benton who brought international attention to their fight for Senate District 25 by criticizing her involvement with Blizzard's hugely popular MMORPG, World of Warcraft.
According to the paper, the Maine Republican Party launched a website called "Colleen's World" which introduced potential voters to her World of Warcraft avatar, an Orc Rogue called Santiaga. The site offered links to her official World of Warcraft profile, and comments made on the Daily Kos website. There was also a link to a study that claimed the average World of Warcraft player is 28, and spends 22.7 hours wandering the virtual realm.
"So I’m a level 68 orc rogue girl. That means I stab things . . . a lot," reads one of her comments. "Who would have thought that a peace-lovin’, social worker and democrat would enjoy that?!"
"Now if you’ll excuse me, I may have to go and hunt down Grover Norquist and drown him in my bath tub," reads another comment.
In addition to the website, the Republican Party also released this mailer (jpg) which led visitors to the website and used her "I stab things" quote, as listed above. But what Martin's political party didn't anticipate was the response to the attack by the gaming community. A group calling itself the "Friends of Santiaga" established an account on fundraising site ActBlue and quickly gathered more than $6300 in donations from gamers all across the nation.
"What’s really weird is that the Republicans are going after my hobbies instead of talking about their record while they’ve been running Augusta for the last two years," Lachowicz said in a prepared statement. "Instead of talking about what they’re doing for Maine people, they’re making fun of me for playing video games."
Because Lachowicz received public funds for her campaign under the Maine Clean Election Act, she couldn't accept the ActBlue funds. Instead, Friends of Santiaga contributed the money to the Maine Senate Democratic Campaign Committee and MPA Campaign Vote!, a political action committee affiliated with the Maine People’s Alliance.
Naturally the Republican Party tried to spin the act of generosity by alleging Lachowicz illegally encouraged visitors to her website to contribute to the ActBlue campaign. Lachowicz admitted to the link, but said she had no contact with the groups that actually received the money. The ethics commission eventually sided with Lachowicz and refused to investigate the allegations.
Lachowicz, a level 85 Orc Rogue, defeated her real-life Republican enemy by more than 500 votes on Tuesday. Currently it's unknown how many experience points she received from her victory, or what kind of loot the defeated former Senator dropped in District 25.