Maine – Old Orchard Beach Town Councilor and 2012 Emerge Maine graduate Robin Dayton has become the subject of the Maine Attorney General’s investigation into allegations that she used hate speech on Wednesday to ridicule a black Auburn resident.
Dennis E. Graise, Detroit native and Maine resident since 2005, was at the Old Orchard Beach post office on Wednesday gathering signatures for a local recall initiative — an initiative which includes the recall of Dayton — when he noticed a woman approaching him who appeared irate.
“She was yelling mean stuff and putting on a show,” said Graise. “She came back out of the post office and she was still yelling and raving,” he said.
“As she was leaving, getting into her car, she used a racial slur, the n-word towards me,” said Graise.
Graise was at the post office to gather signatures in support of an effort to recall all seven recently elected Old Orchard Beach town councilors, including Dayton. He said he had no idea who Dayton was, but that witnesses told him she was “from the other side.”
Graise said there were “quite a few” witnesses present for Dayton’s alleged racist tirade. However, the Old Orchard Beach Police Department dismissed the complaint.
“Later on I found out she was a public representative,” said Graise. “That’s what really bugs me.”
“When you represent the public, you should carry yourself in a certain fashion,” said Graise.
Dayton attended Skidmore College and Rutgers University for her undergraduate. She received her Master’s Degree in Public Administration at George Washington University.
Michael Coleman, a fellow member of the OOB Town Council, said he doubted that Dayton made the alleged racist remarks.
“She’s left of left, but she’s also politically correct,” said Coleman. “There’s no way she said the n-word,” he said.
Coleman, like Dayton, could be recalled if Graise’s petition collection effort succeeds. He said the whole affair was probably manufactured by supporters of the recall in order to discredit Dayton. “She’s a good council member,” he said. “She supports transparency in public spending. Believe it or not, she’s a budget hawk.”
According to an article in the Biddeford-Saco-OOB Courier entitled, “Robin Dayton: OOB councilor has long history of civic responsibility,” the embattled Democrat moved to Old Orchard Beach following the attacks of September 11, 2001. She was elected to the Old Orchard Beach Town Council in 2006.
In addition to being an elected official, Dayton is a graduate of Emerge Maine — a leftist training camp that teaches Democratic women how to run for public office.
Attempts to contact an Emerge Maine representative were not successful.
The Emerge Maine advisory board includes several of Maine’s female Democratic luminaries: U.S. Rep Chellie Pingree (D-Maine), Attorney General Janet Mills, Rep. Sharon A. Treat (D-Hallowell), Sen. Emily Cain (D-Penobscot), and former State Rep. and failed gubernatorial candidate Libby Mitchell.
According to Emerge Maine’s website, the group provides the following services: “We only train Democratic women… Our intensive, cohort-based training builds a team within each class who support each other… We provide 70 hours of in-depth candidate training and women are ‘ready to run’ for office… Participants master: Public Speaking and Communication, Fundraising, Media and Messaging, Networking, Campaign Strategy, Field Operations, Technology and New Media, Diversity and Cultural Competency, and Ethical Leadership… Our training includes sessions on Democratic Party platform training and Labor Issues.” [emphasis added]
Graise said he went to the Old Orchard Beach Police Department (OOBPD) after the altercation seeking an apology from Dayton. His conversation OOBPD snowballed into a full blown investigation and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is also now involved.
According to a Friday email from OOBPD Police Chief Dana M. Kelly, police investigators found no basis for Graise’s claims that Dayton threatened him with racist slurs.
“[I]nvestigating officers continued to investigate the matter and concluded that there is no probable cause to conclude that the behavior of the town Councilor was in fact criminal in nature,” Kelly wrote. “It did not meet the elements necessary to be considered a hate crime and as a result we have closed the case. However, as a follow up to our investigation, the information we gathered and our conclusion, was forwarded to the Maine Attorney General’s Office for their review.”
Kelly said in the email that the AG will be reviewing the investigation and responding within one week.
The AG’s Office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
By S.E. Robinson
MAINE WIRE Reporter