The race to replace retiring Senator Olympia Snowe in Maine just got its first major misstep.

Despite being a fairly Democratic-leaning state from a very Democratic-leaning region of the country, Maine’s Senate delegation has been comprised of two Republicans for quite some time. Now that Snowe, the more senior of the state’s two Republican senators, is finally quitting, one would think the Democratic party would leap at the chance to cement its hold over the Northeast. One would not think this is hard – in theory, all it would take is nominating a mildly popular, attractive candidate with enough discipline to say the right things and appeal to local voters.

Evidently, the Democrats thought they had found that sort of candidate in Cynthia Dill, an arch-progressive member of the Maine State House who was first elected in 2006. Or perhaps they didn’t think they’d found that sort of candidate, and didn’t care, it’s not clear that there was any evidence that Dill could be a disciplined candidate. In fact, her paper trail screams against that conclusion. Consider this middle school-esque title from one of her blog entries (yes, she maintains a blog):

Rush Limbaugh Is a Loser

The actual text of the entry is no better:

The question today is do the people of America really want to listen to an angry, narcissistic, swollen orca of a man talk about his diet?

El Rushbo, as he likes to call himself, is on a diet. He and his side-kick Snerdley broke the story in April and drone about it on the Rush Limbaugh show. Apparently his BMI is broadcast excellence.

Broad, maybe, but anyone out there with an active imagination? What do you think of when you picture Rush weighing in every day before he hits the airwaves?

Is he in size 75 briefs with a gut the size of a Ford Pinto hanging over the waistband? Does he wear boxers that could be used as tarps to shelter the homeless? [...]

The visual might be a mix of a Sharpei and a pig.

A Sharpiggie.

Charming stuff this isn’t. Yet apparently, it’s precisely the sort of adolescent wit that Democrats in Maine thought they needed when selecting a Senate candidate. However, unfortunately (and predictably), Dill’s utter lack of rhetorical discipline appears to have backfired on them. First, there was an embarrassing campaign ad showing Dill quite literally dancing on the grave of a service member:

And now, there’s Dill using a national tragedy as a fundraising gimmick. US News and World Report reports:

Whispers was forwarded a strongly-worded E-mail Thursday fromCynthia Dill, the notoriously outspoken Democratic candidate in Maine’s Senate race to replace retiring Republican Olympia Snowe.

“How many murdered children does it take?” the E-mail began. “My opponents… both agree it was OK for the Aurora killer to be able to legally purchase a 100-round magazine of ammunition, and I don’t. That’s the difference. Can you chip in $100 today?”

After asking for cash, Dill’s E-mail went on to say she was “sick and tired of the bloodbath,” and of “seeing mothers weeping over the bodies of innocent children slaughtered.”

Dill also pushed to reinstate a decade-old assault weapons ban, saying the Aurora, Colo. shooting that left 12 dead and dozens injured this month was proof the expired ban should be renewed.

“Where will it happen next?” she asked. “Give $100 to our campaign.”

Yes, apparently nominating a woman who can’t help calling a major political figure a pigdog may result in getting egg on one’s face, especially when it comes to a national tragedy where sensitivity, not crass ad misericordiam fallacies, should be the order of the day. Who knew?

Even Dill’s campaign seems to have realized this email was a rank mistake. In rather odd effort at damage control, Dill’s spokesman, Bob Metzinger, is claiming he wrote the email, not Dill, though strangely enough, neither he nor her is apologizing for it. Not that this is the first time Dill has claimed her ideological opponents enjoy leaving people to die. From another one of her blog entries (emphasis added):

If you are drowning in 12 feet of water, a moderate Republican will throw you six feet of rope.

One in five Maine children are hungry and living in poverty, family budgets are crushed under the weight of exorbitant healthcare and energy costs, and too many people can’t find a decent job. The American middle class is drowning and all we see and hear in the media is the spectacle of ridiculously wealthy men who have contributed nothing to the common good tell us why they should be president. Crazy right-wingers in the Congress are so busy trying to dismantle the social safety net, gut and “investigate” programs for women and kids that they don’t have time to balance the budget.

None of them can be trusted to throw us a life line in Maine. Self-interest and greed is shockingly the agenda for all those afflicted with Potomac Fever, and the silence of our United States Senators in the face of their GOP caucus is deafening.

Again, it is not clear what the people who work for this women were expecting to happen after her nomination.

Dill’s gaffe has, of course, prompted outraged reactions from her opponents. As libertarian candidate Andrew Ian Dodge put it in a press release:

She [Dill] is using the evil actions of one man to call for the limiting of rights of every law abiding citizen. Dill’s statement shows how desperate she has become to use this act of evil for her own political gain. American gun owners should not fall victim to her squabble with the national Democrat Party.

With all due respect to Dodge, Dill’s squabble at this point may be with more than the national Democratic party. Her candidacy may, indeed, be sunk by this. One doubts whether even 12 feet of rope will be sufficient to save it if that happens.