WASHINGTON – Crystal Canney, Maine Sen. Angus King’s spokeswoman both in Washington and during last year’s campaign, plans to step down next month.

Canney said Wednesday that she will leave her post in early December and resume her work in the private sector. She ran Portland-based Canney Communications before joining King’s 2012 U.S. Senate campaign.

King praised Canney’s contributions to his campaign and to his first year in Washington.

“Crystal’s tireless dedication to my election effort and her efforts on The Hill are unmatched,” King said in a statement. “She is and will remain a trusted advisor. She has helped me navigate the national media flawlessly. I wish her the very best in this next chapter of her career.”

Like many Capitol Hill staffers, Canney has spent the past year working part-time in Washington and part-time in Maine. She said Wednesday she plans to return to Maine.

“It has been a privilege to work with such a principled leader and visionary,” Canney said in a statement. “Senator King is among the best and his efforts are exactly what the country needs – an end to partisan gridlock.”

A former journalist, Canney worked for several years as a spokeswoman for former Gov. John Baldacci and as an assistant commissioner in the Baldacci administration. She also handled communications for the successful 2009 campaign to defeat a Taxpayers Bill of Rights referendum and joined King’s Senate race in 2012.

Canney said she will announce “a new business partnership” in January but, when asked, she did not elaborate on her plans. Maine has a full slate of races on the ballot in 2014, including those for governor, Maine’s two U.S. House seats, U.S. senator and legislative races.