As the election cycle turns enters full swing, Senator Susan Collins has brought on the former Objectivist Party of Maine President. Tyler Washburn, who presently serves as a Maine Republican Party State Committeeman, joined as an intern in January.
The Objectivist Party was officially formed on February 2, 2008 by Tom Stevens. The date was selected because it was the birthday of Ayn Rand, who’s Objectivist beliefs are the basis for the party. The Maine party was chartered July 21, 2008 and has had five Presidents in its time.
The partnership is a surprise given the clear contradiction between what the Objectivist Party stands for and Senator Collins’ big government liberalism.
The Objectivist Party lists four core principles in its Statement of Principles. While these principles may appeal to conservative and libertarian activists, they definitely do not align with Senator Collins.
The first principle, for example, is the individual right to life. Senator Collins on the other hand has consistently supported abortion, receiving an 83% rating from NARAL Pro-Choice America because of his consistent opposition to limiting the practice of executing unborn children.
Ayn Rand herself was a critic of conservatism, the dominant ideology of the Republican Party. In “Conservatism: An Obituary”, she even went as far as declaring the ideology “futile, impotent, and culturally, dead.” She went on further to state “They have nothing to offer and can achieve nothing. They can only help to destroy intellectual standards, to disintegrate thought, to discredit capitalism, and to accelerate this country’s uncontested collapse into despair and dictatorship.”
As Senator Collins enters a critical election cycle facing stronger criticism from her base, she has a strong liberal record to defend. As she continues to lose ground with conservatives, Democrat Shenna Bellows continues to gain steam. Bellows, the former Maine Civil Liberties Union executive director who has sold herself as a defender of civil liberties, outraised Senator Collins in the Fourth Quarter of 2013.
Tyler Washburn has become a devout and hardworking Republican since leaving the Objectivist Party. In addition to being an intern for Senator Collins and State Committeeman, he serves as the Sagadahoc County Representative to the Maine Republican Party Platform Committee.
He is the former chair for the State Senate campaign of Lois Snowe-Mello, who currently serves as Chair for Eric Brakey’s State Senate campaign. He also served as Bowdoin Town Chair for the re-election campaign of former Senator Olympia Snowe, who would eventually drop out last minute and create a chaotic primary that handed Angus King the Senate seat.
Though an Independent candidate has yet to enter the race, Senator Collins faces tough opposition from Democrat Shenna Bellows. Maine Equal Rights Center director Erick Bennett has also announced his intent to challenge Senator Collins in the Republican primary.
What, if anything, does this appointment signal about the direction of Susan Collins reelection campaign?