Bemoaning the violence that shook Charlottesville, Virginia, last week during a racist rally, Republican congressional candidate Mark Holbrook Friday denounced “fringe groups spewing anger and hatred.”

But Holbrook laid blame for the mayhem on both the white supremacists who targeted Charlottesville for their largest rally in years and the counter-demonstrators who showed up to protest.

“The two groups that were allowed to confront each other head-to-head in Charlottesville represent opposite sides of the same hate-filled coin,” Holbrook said.

Holbrook is challenging U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, a Democrat whose 1st District includes Portland and a vociferous critic of President Donald Trump and his comments on what occurred in Virginia.

Holbrook’s words also stand in contrast to the 2012 Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, a former Massachusetts governor.

In a statement also released Friday, Romney said that “racists are 100 percent to blame for the murder and violence in Charlottesville.”


He called on Trump to “testify that there is no conceivable comparison or moral equivalency between the Nazis — who brutally murdered millions of Jews and who hundreds of thousands of Americans gave their lives to defeat — and the counter-protestors who were outraged to see fools parading the Nazi flag, Nazi armband and Nazi salute.”

Pingree has called for Congress to censure Trump over his refusal to condemn the racist rally-goers without also casting blame on people who showed up to oppose them. She also urged the president to fire three top aides she considers bigots.

Holbrook, a psychologist who lives in Brunswick, said the violence in Charlottesville “was very painful to watch” and complained that “their bad behavior” had been given “endless hours of TV time.”

“I find it to be very disheartening when a tiny fraction of this great nation can garner the attention of every news organization for days on end because they spew hatred and culminate with a violent crescendo,” Holbrook said.

He said that all Americans deserve “to be treated with the dignity and respect endowed by our Creator. The founders of this great nation reminded us that all men are created equal and they enshrined those words in our Declaration of Independence.

He said that “violence in our streets, racism in your hearts” and bigotry don’t belong in America.


“Americans believe in the sanctity of human life, and the violent anarchists who propagate hatred and violence have no place here,” he said.

Holbrook said society has “to look at the rhetoric used by public officials, pop-icons, news reporters and political commentators and how the constant drumbeat of the hyperbole impacts people who are predisposed to violence.”

“Incivility is reinforced by a 24/7 news cycle seemingly searching for new adjectives with which to repeat the same ugly event at least until there is new tragedy to replace yesterday’s,” he said.

Holbrook said that violence “has many causes” and that “everyone has to look within themselves to see what part they play in it.”

Pingree defeated Holbrook in 2016 58 percent to 42 percent. He is her only declared GOP candidate so far for the 2018 race.

Mark Holbrook

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