Oct. 4, 2012 at 4:20 PM ET
UPDATED - Colleen Lachowicz is a Democratic candidate running for State Senate in Maine. She's also a level 85 orc in the massively popular online game "World of Warcraft." And for that, the Republican party says she is unfit for office.
Maine's GOP has accused Lachowicz of living a "bizarre double life" and set up a website meant to out her participation in the popular online game -- a game that currently boasts some 10 million players around the world.
Not only does the website show off a picture of the orc character she plays -- named Santiaga -- it also displays comments that have been dug up from online forums in which Lachowicz talks about her love of the (sometimes violent) game as well as her thoughts on various political topics.
Among the comments the website attributes to her:
"So I'm a level 68 orc rogue girl. I stab things . . . a lot. Who would have thought that a peace-lovin', social worker and democrat would enjoy that?!"
"I can kill stuff without going to jail. There are some days when this is more necessary than others."
"I'm so jealous! I wish I wasn't at work. I'd much rather be gaming with my guildies!"
Lachowicz also appears to refer to members of the Tea Party as, well, teabaggers.
"In Colleen’s online fantasy world, she gets away with crude, vicious and violent comments like the ones below," reads the website. "Maine needs a State Senator that lives in the real world, not in Colleen’s fantasy world."
Meanwhile, Maine's Republican Party has also sent out a press release titled: "Democratic Senate Candidate Colleen Lachowicz's Disturbing Alter-Ego Revealed" which accuses her of living a "time-consuming double life." The party has also sent out post cards that, like the website, put her "World of Warcraft" character on display and highlight her online comments.
UPDATE: I reached out to Lachowicz for comment, and she sent the following statement:
“I think it's weird that I'm being targeted for playing online games. Apparently I'm in good company since there are 183 million other Americans who also enjoy online games. What's next? Will I be ostracized for playing Angry Birds or Words with Friends? If so, guilty as charged!"
And she went on to state, "What's really weird is that the Republicans are going after my hobbies instead of talking about their record while they've been running Augusta for the last two years. Instead of talking about what they're doing for Maine people, they're making fun of me for playing video games. Did you know that more people over the age of 50 play video games than under the age of 18? As a gamer, I'm in good company with folks like Jodie Foster, Vin Diesel, Mike Myers, and Robin Williams. Maybe it's the Republican Party that is out of touch."
[Please see our follow-up story and interview with Lachowicz here.]
In fact, it doesn't seem Lachowicz was trying to keep her "WoW" playing a secret. This Daily Kos World of Warcraft guild link from 2011 introduces her as a candidate and spreads the fundraising word on her behalf. It reads:
One of our original founding members, Colleen Lachowicz, better known in the guild as Santiaga or Ralista, is running for the Maine State Senate. Colleen is a long time political activist and advocate for kids and health care. Also her DPS is amazing. Mainers will be fortunate indeed if she wins to have her in there fighting for education, kids, health care, jobs and the 99% against the one of the absolute worst of the Tea Party Wing Nut Governors which were inflicted upon us all in the 2010 election patch.
Meanwhile, "World of Warcraft" players are coming to Lachowicz's defense.
"I don't know that I'd agree with her political stances or that I would vote for based on her policies," writes one poster in the "WoW" forums. "That's not what this is about. What I do know is that using the fact that she plays World of Warcraft against her in a political campaign is absurdly pathetic ... I think it makes the person using it as a negative look petty and desperate."
Winda Benedetti writes about video games for NBC News. You can follow her tweets about games and other things on Twitter here @WindaBenedetti, and you can follow her on Google+. Meanwhile, be sure to check out the IN-GAME FACEBOOK PAGE to discuss the day's gaming news and reviews.