The head of Maine’s Republican Party defended himself on Thursday over comments he made about black people committing voter fraud in his state. In an interview with TPM, Charlie Webster said his remarks earlier in the week had been misinterpreted as racist, but he still insisted it was “unusual” to see so many black voters at the polls in an overwhelmingly white state. Webster had claimed in interviews with local media outlets that having a high number of blacks showing up at the polls could be a sign of voter fraud. He vowed to investigate. That investigation would be conducted using his own private funds after he steps down from his party post on Dec. 1, Webster told TPM.
He also said he regretted some of the language he used in the previous interviews. “I regret saying the word black because it wasn’t like I was singling out black,” Webster said. “The reason I said it, ‘cause I don’t know where you live, but where I come from in rural Maine, it’s a small percentage of the population. I think we’re the whitest state in the country. So if you go to the polls and see people who are black, it’s unusual. And when you see a lot of people who are black, like six or eight or ten people, you think, ‘Wow, where do they live?’ That was my point.”