Maine Democratic Lawmaker Uses Aurora Shooting To Drum Up Cash

Sen. Cynthia Dill sent out an email to express condolences for the Aurora shooting victims--and to fundraise.

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Police stand outside of the Century 16 movie theater where a gunman opened fire on movie goers during an early morning screening of the new Batman movie, "The Dark Knight Rises" in Aurora, Colorado.

Whispers was forwarded a strongly-worded E-mail Thursday from Cynthia 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?"

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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."

When reached by phone, Dill defended her campaign's decision to use the Aurora shooting to fundraise, calling it an "opportunity" to "restate my beliefs." Dill also said she believed strong language was necessary when discussing an issue that impacts children and families.

Maine Democratic party spokeswoman Lizzy Reinholt said the E-mail "did not surprise her."

Dill is known for speaking her mind, personally maintaining a blog called "Dill's Conventional Wisdom," where she once commented on Rush Limbaugh's appearance after losing weight: "The visual might be a mix of a Sharpei and a pig. A Sharpiggie."

Last April, she was criticized by the veterans community for filming a video of herself jumping up and down on the headstone of a U.S. captain who died in Vietnam. The headstone is also a P.O.W. memorial.

Though she runs some of her own media, Dill's spokesman Bob Mentzinger later called Whispers to say that he, not Dill, wrote the fundraising E-mail.

And nearly five hours after sending the E-mail, the campaign sent out a second note, saying it had made a "typographical error" talking about the year the assault weapons ban expired.

"P.S.," the second E-mail added. "Donate $50 to the only candidate in the race for U.S. Senate who supports banning large capacity ammunition magazines."

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  • Elizabeth Flock is a staff writer for U.S. News & World Report. You can contact her at eflock@usnews.com or follow her on Twitter and Facebook.