Republican Chair Webster Backs Off Racist Remark – Still Says Voter Fraud Alive In Maine 

Outgoing Republican Party Chairman Charlie Webster is once again beating the drum, claiming voter fraud played a part in last week’s elections. Last Tuesday Democrats delivered an unexpected haymaker to Maine Republicans as they reclaimed both the House of Representatives and the Senate.Webster made headlines Thursday by claiming he was launching an investigation in to alleged voter fraud amidst reports that “dozens of black people” unfamiliar to local elections officials showed up to vote in rural Maine towns on November 6. Earlier this week he claimed the GOP was going to mail out a couple thousand postcards to people who registered to vote on Election Day. He said if the cards are returned as undeliverable, then that will prove his theory. Webster has since softened his comments a bit after some have called them racially charged. He now claims the point he was making had nothing to do with race. “What I feel bad about is that somebody would believe that I would have anything negative about anybody,” Webster said Thursday. “Whether they were gay people, black people, Chinese people, it’s just not part of my personality. But a lot of us witnessed a lot of people coming to the polls that no one knew and when you get in a small town, that’s where it’s an issue. In the big city they don’t stand out.”With a new GOP chairman scheduled to be sworn in December 1, Webster now says he’ll spend his own money investigating the claims. “I don’t want to burden the new chairman with this. I believe there’s a problem. I’ve always believed it. Let’s put it to the test and find out.” His counterpart, Democratic Party Chairman Ben Grant calls Webster’s comments sad. “You know, we just came off a real positive campaign where there was a lot of talk about the middle class and how we’re going to revive Maine, revive this economy,” Grant said. “Instead of reflecting on a loss, instead of being conciliatory with the other side, Charlie Webster just hauls off and is on the same deranged conspiracy theories he was on before. I think it’s really sad.”Webster’s comments are not playing well within his own party either. Several Republicans we talked to say the December 1 vote to replace Webster can’t come soon enough. “We’re dying a death by 1,000 cuts with him,” one Republican said Thursday.This isn’t the first time Webster has claimed voter fraud. In July of last year Webster claimed he found 206 cases of voter fraud. Included in his list were international students attending college here in Maine, who Webster claimed voted in Maine, but may not have been American citizens. He also claimed others had voted twice, once in Maine and again in other states in the same election.Webster turned his claims over to the Secretary of State’s office who found virtually no validity to Webster’s claims.Despite a gross lack of evidence showing there is voter fraud going in Maine, Webster remains steadfast in his belief that Maine is wrought for election day malfeasance. “Look at the city of Bangor. I was told there were 19,000 votes cast and 2000 new voters. That seems odd to me. If you moved into town, wouldn’t you go down and register your car? Wouldn’t you buy a fishing license? Wouldn’t you get involved in your community someway? That’s 10% of the votes. That just seems strange to me,” Webster said. If there is fraud going on, Charlie Webster has vowed to find it. “We need voter ID. Maybe nothing is going on but it seems every election we go through this. Obviously the Democrats want to keep the law, Sussman (Maine Today Media Owner Donald Sussman)spent $600,000 of his own money just to keep it last time. I feel there’s a problem.” A new Republican Party Chairman is expected to be sworn in December 1. It’s a day that Democrats, and even some Republicans, can’t wait for. “I’ve wondered all along if Charlie was playing a game with people or if he really believed this stuff,” Grant said. “I think we know the answer to that, he really believes that stuff. He’s just incredibly paranoid about these things and he’s not letting any evidence dissuade him. He’s also fading from the limelight now and hopefully he can take his crazy theories with him.”