It must have been a painful experience for State Senate Candidate Colleen Lachowicz last Thursday to find out that many of her friends and neighbors had just received a full-color mail piece with an image of her World of Warcraft character and quotes from her in-game persona.
The mailer and accompanying website launched by the Maine Republican Party were meant to benefit her opponent, incumbent Senator Tom Martin, and make the case that spending so much time in a “make-believe world” meant she was too “immature” to be a legislator.
Instead, it’s been as if Lachowicz had a Glyph of Shield Reversal (please no emails telling me she’s the wrong class to use that spell) and the damage has bounced back onto her opponents.
The story has spread widely across gaming blogs and the national political media, with almost everyone criticizing the Maine GOP for attacking her hobby. Colleen’s guild mates and gamers from across the country have already raised almost $6,000 for groups supporting her candidacy.
Last night, the Colbert Report even aired a segment mockingly criticizing her for attempting to “mount an invasion of North Africa from Brazil” while playing Risk and for being a “ruthless hotel investor with no respect for anti-trust law” while playing Monopoly.
The blowback has been especially strong among Republican gamers, who have made a number of posts to online forums, Colleen’s Facebook page (which has grown from 200 to 1,450 likes in the last few days) and the Republican GOP page standing up for the Democratic candidate.
Speaking of online comments, The Maine GOP should probably watch their own a little more closely. In a Facebook response to Republican activist (and BDN blogger) Chris Dixon who spoke out against the Party’s actions, they wrote “Chris – You probably like seeing your name in the paper, but next time you have a problem with something the party does, grow a set and give us a call.” They also refer to Romney’s performance in the debate as an “ass kicking,” the exact same language they criticize Lachowicz for using (and censored with asterisks) on their attack site.
Lachowicz, for her part, has been keeping her head down and continuing to knock on doors in her district, where she says the unfair attacks and her newfound name-recognition seem to be helping her connect with voters.
Her campaign is hosting an event tonight at a local game shop for her new supporters and she has posted a list on her website of four ways that people across the country can help her campaign.