Guest Column:

Maybe I Should have Mentioned my Military Service

By Charlie Summers, Maine Secretary of State 

It has been a week since Angus King defeated me in the election for U.S. Senate. I congratulate him on his victory, but I can’t stop wondering what I might have done better to convince Maine voters to choose me, instead. Do you think I should have brought up the fact that I served in the military?

The fact that I’m a veteran of both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars did not seem to get much play in the Maine media. Perhaps I have only myself to blame. I must not have mentioned a it enough.

For example, take a look at this transcript from the stump speech I was using in the last days before the election:

“My fellow Americans, I stand before you today, the proud veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, having served my country in the military. While Angus King was tooling around in his RV, taking pictures of tourist attractions with his eye phone, I was putting my life on the line for Old Glory. My record of military service represents the fact that I served in the military, and was willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for my country, that being to potentially die in uniform while a member of the Armed Forces. Some have asked what, exactly, were my duties in Iraq and Afghanistan, to which I answer that my duties were to serve my country in Iraq and Afghanistan, thus making me a wartime veteran, in case you were not aware. Oh, and one more thing. I’m not sure if I remembered to mention this yet, but just in case, I want to make sure to say that if you’re interested in voting for someone who fought for his country in Iraq and Afghanistan, I’m the guy.”

Looking back, clearly I simply did not make enough of an effort to highlight by military service. The words “Iraq” and “Afghanistan” certainly bring up positive associations for people, I would think. We didn’t focus group that, but it does seem obvious, looking back, that associating myself with the foreign policy foibles of the Bush Administration would have made more voters warm up to me on a subconscious level.

Well, enough regrets. My exemplary record of military service (which included tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan, I should add) will always stay with me. I’ll still have it on my résumé for my next run for office.

Hopefully, by then, Cynthia Dill will be completely out of the picture, so I can be the only militant candidate on the ballot.




  1. kathie macchioni says:

    perhaps you should have said the vietnam war. no one cared then and seems like they still want to keep it that way. or so my uppity vietnam vet of a husband says… you cannot miss him, he is the one with the pony tail and the harley, and all the really cool patches on his leather vest. though sometimes he DOES let me braid his tail. just a suggestion for next time. 🙂

  2. Jack Mahoney says:

    Nice article in the PPH this morning about how Summers is looking into reports of black people voting in Maine towns. That voter fraud argument has been way good for the Republicans, eh?

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