Yes, columnist Bill Nemitz owns a crying towel he recently wrung out, after authorship of his article complaining about Susan Collins win over Sara Gideon. The subtitle of his column asserted Collins win was, a “detriment of state, birthplace played a powerful role in Maine’s U.S. Senate race.” (“The ‘County girl’ versus the woman ‘from away,'” Nov. 8.)

Nemitz admits being “from away”— landing in Maine 44 years ago. Gideon has lived here 16 years. Nemitz, plus other editorial board members, unsuccessfully tried to charge Collins with tagging Gideon as being “from away.” Susan reduced that errant missile to ashes by contending she felt Gideon knew less about Maine people than she did.

Nemitz spoke to Jim Melcher, a political science professor at the University of Maine in Farmington. Melcher objected to folk touting birthplace over authority and character, contending, “I think it’s divisive, I think it suggests some people aren’t equal, that some people aren’t as good as other people.” Melcher — to his credit — didn’t claim Collins did that specific thing. Instead, Susan merely opined that her roots in Maine ran deeper than Gideon’s.

I personally benefitted from Susan Collins’ exercise of care for others. In my first of three successful Maine Senate campaigns, Susan volunteered to spend a day with me, knocking on doors in Farmington.

Nimitz and Melcher should bury the hatchet labeled “from away.” And realize they’ve made an investment in Maine. As have zillions.

As Susan Collins sees it, roots in Maine stump cherry-topped concoctions “from away.”


John Benoit


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