Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Cynthia Dill held a news conference Friday to encourage supporters to stick with her and not vote for someone else out of fear.

Dill has been running third in the polls but said she is the only candidate standing up for progressive issues, such as immediately ending the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy and regulating financial institutions.

Some Democrats have publicly endorsed former Gov. Angus King, the independent front-runner. And some liberal and centrist voters fear that votes for Dill could help Republican Charlie Summers win the race.

That fear is a direct result of Maine’s 2010 race for governor, when Democrats split their votes between the party’s nominee, Libby Mitchell, and the independent candidate, Eliot Cutler. Republican Paul LePage won the election with 38 percent of the vote.

Dill has rejected calls for her to get out of the race to avoid being a spoiler, although earlier this month she hinted at the possibility of a last-minute deal with King to ensure that Summers doesn’t win.

“What I tell people is: Maybe there will be some last-minute deal. You know, I’m a deal maker. I settled large cases on the eve of trial,” said Dill, who is a lawyer. “Maybe there will be something.”

She fueled speculation about a possible deal Friday when she held a “major press conference” to discuss the vote-splitting issue. But she held her ground, telling voters they should not be afraid of vote-splitting and giving no indication that she intends to drop out of the race.

While Dill and King agree on many issues, they also have many differences. Dill wants to end the Bush tax cuts immediately for people earning more than $250,000 a year, while King wants to wait until the economy is stronger. Regarding banking regulation, Dill supports the Dodd-Frank regulations on the financial industry, while King says he would have voted against them because of excess regulation on small banks.

Staff Writer John Richardson can be contacted at 791-6324 or at:

[email protected]