The gaming hobby of a New England, US political candidate has become an issue in the state’s senate race.
Maine Republicans have created a webpage revealing that Democrat candidate Colleen Lachowicz plays an orc rogue in World of Warcraft (WoW).
Ms Lachowicz’s liking for back-stabbing and poison in WoW raise questions about her “fitness for office”, the republicans claim.
Ms Lachowicz, for her part, has come out swinging, saying the attack showed the Republicans were “out of touch”.
The state senate seat known as District 25 in Maine, is currently being contested by Ms Lachowicz and incumbent Republican Tom Martin, leading up to a November 6th election.
As part of its strategy, the Republican party in the state created “Colleen’s World” – a website that compiles information about Ms Lachowicz’s orc rogue Santiaga. According to Google: an orc is “A member of an imaginary race of humanlike creatures, characterized as ugly, warlike, and malevolent.”
In a statement that accompanies the webpage, Maine Republicans said playing the game led Ms Lachowicz to live a “bizarre double life” that raised questions about her ability to fully represent the state.
The page also highlighted comments Ms Lachowicz has made while talking about her orc character, in particular it highlights her affection for Santiaga’s ability to stab things and kill people without suffering a jail sentence.
Said Maine Republican Party spokesman David Sorensen in a statement:
These are some very bizarre and offensive comments. They certainly raise questions about Lachowicz’s maturity and her ability to make serious decisions for the people of Senate District 25.
“I think it’s weird that I’m being targeted for playing online games,” said Ms Lachowicz in a statement. “Apparently I’m in good company since there are 183 million other Americans who also enjoy online games.
“Instead of talking about what they’re doing for Maine people, they’re making fun of me for playing video games,” said Ms Lachowicz.
Data hasn’t been released to determine the damage, if any, Maine’s Republican party efforts has caused, however Ms Lachowicz own page has been inundated with comments from supporters pledging support and money.
Gaming researcher Ladan Cockshut said the row revealed how gaming can be seen as a bad thing to do.
“In my work, I’ve spoken with many people who in their regular lives have roles of significant responsibility (as doctors, managers, or educators) but who choose carefully with whom they disclose their gaming activity,” she told the BBC. “And disclosing their gaming activity is often accompanied by a degree of apology or embarrassment.”
She did add, however, that having a gamer run the office was a “heartening” development.
“This would seem to run contrary to the other stereotypes that we love to assign to gamers: that they are lazy, antisocial people who don’t have a ‘real life’,” she said. “Maybe this will trigger some dialogue about our perceptions of gamers and the role that games can and should play in modern society.”