In a campaign video released Thursday, independent U.S. Senate candidate Max Linn denounced what he said were threats aimed at getting him to quit the race.

Shortly before independent U.S. Senate candidate Max Linn announced last week that he would quit the race, he hung out with former state Republican Party Chairman Charlie Webster.

They ate some good Maine bass and they talked, as they’d been doing for a couple of weeks beforehand.

Webster said he thought he convinced the Bar Harbor businessman to get out of the race rather than risk hurting the reelection chances of four-term GOP incumbent U.S. Sen. Susan Collins.

Webster, a former state lawmaker from Farmington who served as minority leader of the state Senate, said he thought it was all going to work out when Linn declared a week ago that he would endorse Collins and leave the race.

Except Linn didn’t end his campaign, after all, instead demanding Tuesday that Collins agree to five populist themes that everybody knows she won’t endorse.

Linn’s campaign is happy at the coverage he got for his ploy.

Webster said, though, that “people are laughing at him,” not contemplating whether to support him.

Despite the announcement, Webster didn’t give up trying to convince Linn to end his electoral bid. He said he kept talking to Linn and texting him, trying to convince him that staying in the contest would be a big mistake.

“I feel awful that you’re in this position,” he texted to Linn. “Don’t make it worse.”

“Your options are limited,” Webster wrote. “You run, get destroyed based on something you’ve said or done, spend hundreds of thousands more, lose badly and are shortly forgotten.”

“You announce and the [Republican National Committee] and other Republican groups will destroy you,” he texted to Linn. “Trust me, you will go through living hell. I honestly feel bad at this point for you and your family.”

It would be better, he said, for Linn to withdraw and back Collins.

Webster said Thursday he never attacked Linn or had any intention of hurting him. He said he considered it a friendly warning, not a threat.

Webster, who erased his own copies of the texts he and Linn exchanged Wednesday, said Linn “hates Sara Gideon,” the Democratic candidate from Freeport, and doesn’t really know Collins.

But Linn, who is one of two independents certified for the Nov. 3 general election ballot, said in a video released late Thursday that if Collins wants him out, “all she has to do is agree to my five conditions” by Monday.

“What in the heck is Susan Collins so afraid of?” Linn asked as he scrolled through Webster’s text message during the video his campaign released. “I just don’t get what these attacks are about.”

Webster said he didn’t attack Linn. In fact, he said, he likes the guy.

What he did was warn Linn that others were bound to make an issue of his failure to file a campaign finance disclosure form with the Federal Election Commission and no doubt make an issue of other stuff.

Linn’s campaign called Webster “an operative linked to the Collins campaign.”

Webster is a Collins ally, he readily admits. He said he has long admired her strength and her stances on most issues.

But, he said, when it comes to politics now, he just does what he wants, from helping congressional candidate Dale Crafts to promoting Collins.

Webster said he turned down an offer months ago to serve as Linn’s campaign manager for $75,000.

“I’m not for sale,” he said. “I don’t do that.”

Webster pointed a finger at Matt McDonald, Linn’s unpaid senior strategist, as the one who’s likely got the candidate off track.

In one text, Webster told Linn that McDonald doesn’t care “if you are destroyed and look like a raving maniac.”

Linn, Collins, Gideon and independent Lisa Savage are vying in one of the nation’s hottest Senate races in a ranked-choice election whose outcome could potentially decide control of the Senate next year.

Related Headlines


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under:

Kennebec Journal & Morning Sentinel news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.