Independent U.S. Senate candidate Max Linn poses for a photo Oct. 16 before a debate in the Poulin Auditorium of the Augusta Civic Center. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal Buy this Photo

U.S. Senate candidate Max Linn has always taken a different approach to politics, but in recent days he’s strayed far from the usual path to victory.

Linn, one of four contenders for Maine’s Senate seat in Tuesday’s election, called the state’s top public health official a “death doctor,” compared wearing masks to “being muzzled like a beast” and described Gov. Janet Mills as “a political class psychopath.”

Linn, who cut up some paper face masks during a televised debate last month, is likely to finish a distant fourth in his quest to unseat Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, according to many polls. Also in the running are Democrat Sara Gideon and independent Lisa Savage.

Touting himself as the only candidate in the race who supports President Donald Trump’s reelection, Linn aims to tap into conservative discontent with Collins, whose loyalty to Trump falls well short of what some on the right prefer.

The polls, though, show Linn in the low single digits, his only likely impact on the race coming from whether his voters pick Collins or Gideon second on their ranked-choice ballots.

He called on Trump supporters Monday to pick him first as “a way of fighting back against those who do not want you or your family to enjoy the freedoms that were enjoyed by prior generations of Americans. Imagine trying to mask and lockdown the WW2 generation?”


On Halloween, Linn said voters who “want to be further treated like a muzzled beast” should choose Gideon or Collins on their ballots.

Gov. Janet Mills speaks at a briefing this year with Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Dr. Nirav Shah. Portland Press Herald file photo

That was mild, though, compared to some of his other comments in recent days.

Last week, he called Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, “the very doctor of death.”

Scientific American recently described Shah as “the face of Maine’s successful policy” in dealing with COVID-19. Mills is the authority behind the policy that has kept Maine among the safest states throughout the pandemic.

But Linn sees it otherwise.

In a since-deleted tweet, the Bar Harbor financial planner said Shah “forced mandates and unconstitutional use of power has launched a wave of death into our communications the likes of which would make Josef Mengele smile.”


Mengele, known as the Angel of Death, performed deadly experiments on concentration camp prisoners.

On Monday, Linn tweeted, “I am proud to be the only candidate running that does not endorse the idea of more lockdowns and masks forever. If you enjoy being muzzled like a beast and locked in your basement for the next few years then I am not your candidate. Breathe the fresh air!”

After Mills postponed the reopening of bars and limited indoor gatherings in the wake of rising COVID-19 rates, Linn asked why she doesn’t show remorse “for the record number of suicides, drug overdoses and elderly that are dying alone under her watch? Oh, that’s right, she is a political class psychopath.”

Drug overdose deaths are up in Maine this year, but it is not clear if suicides are more common or whether more older Mainers are dying alone. What is certain is that COVID-19, which has killed more than 230,000 Americans this year, has claimed 148 lives in Maine since March.

Linn has been angling for a political future in Maine since he sought without success to force a Republican primary for a U.S. Senate seat in 2018, when he fell short after authorities ruled his petitions included the names of deceased voters. He opted to run this year as an independent.

In the past, he’s run without success for a congressional seat and for governor in Florida.

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