The Maine Republican Party's criticism of Democratic candidate Colleen Lachowicz' participation in World of Warcraft isn't fueled by her gaming hobby, but rather what the party describes as Lachowicz' violent comments in the game's forums, a spokesman for the party told Polygon.
"We're not attacking Colleen for being a gamer, our website and mailers are focused on Colleen's extremely offensive remarks made in connection with her gaming, including saying that Maine's governor must have been a child prostitute or drug dealer, and how she might drown conservative activist Grover Norquist in a bathtub,"Maine Republican party communications director David Sorensen told Polygon.
The website and mailers use an image of Lachowicz' World of Warcraft character along with the words "Colleen's fantasy world," and the beginning of the article announcing the mailers on the Maine GOP website states that she "has been living a time-consuming double life as a member of the World of Warcraft community."
When asked why Lachowicz' gaming habits are emphasized in the campaign rather than the statements they found offensive, Sorensen suggested her behavior in-game had "morphed" into real-world behavior:
"Lachowicz made these offensive comments in WoW forums and sometimes while gaming," he said. "She used her gaming pseudonym in her online postings, and her violent rhetoric regarding the game morphed into violent rhetoric about people with whose policies she disagrees.
"If she were your average gamer, this would be a non-issue; we are not making issue purely out of Lachowicz's gaming," he added. "But this violent rhetoric, combined with posts talking about how the game has hampered her productivity at work and how lazy she is - she works for a taxpayer-funded organization, by the way - reflect extremely poorly on her character and fitness for office. The World of Warcraft theme is relevant, but does not form the basis for our attack; her comments, however, do. I am sure many politicians play online games, and that alone is not what we take issue with."
Polygon has reached out to Colleen Lachowicz for comment regarding the campaign against her, but has yet to respond at the time of this posting. We will update this story with more information as we have it.