Recent columns in the Portland Press Herald called for state Sen. Cynthia Dill, the Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate, to drop out because she might hurt unenrolled candidate Angus King’s chances against Republican Charlie Summers (“Greg Kesich: An early exit by Dill would shake up U.S. Senate race,” Sept. 26). How insulting can the King acolytes get? Sen. Dill won a hard fight to earn the Democratic nomination in June.

I pose this question: Why should any real Democrat vote for King for Senate? Angus King left the Democratic Party 20 years ago, declaring himself an “independent” and saying, in effect, “I am not a Democrat. That party is not good enough for me.”

The Democratic Party was good enough for Ed Muskie, George Mitchell, Ken Curtis, John Baldacci, Tom Allen, Chellie Pingree, Mike Michaud and good enough for me and hundreds of thousands of Mainers. It is the party that brought us a minimum wage, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, safer working conditions, clean air, clean water and much more. What have independents brought us? I say, “Nothing, zero, nada.”

I believe that Angus King is essentially a Republican masquerading as an independent. Why do I say that?

First, when a bill to increase the minimum wage to a princely sum of $5.40 or so per hour came to King, he vetoed it — the usual Republican position on increasing the minimum wage.

Second, King as governor supported George Bush and Dick Cheney over Al Gore and Joe Lieberman. How much more Republican can you get?

Third, King opposes President Obama’s call for the richest people to pay a little more in taxes — the exact position of the Republican Party. Why should Maine send someone like Angus King to Washington? King’s financial management of the state is the worst of all the 74 governors in Maine history.

Cynthia Dill, Maine’s Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate, needs the Democrats to come home. She is the only candidate who will fight for working men and women and Democratic values.

Joe Brennan is a Democratic former Maine governor (1979-87) and represented Maine’s 1st District in Congress (1987-90).