Saturday, March 8, 2014
The rift between U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe and former protege Charlie Summers has been known in Republican circles for some time. While it was finally made public last month, a recent report in POLITICO shows that the two have yet to repair their relationship.
The report explores Summers' recent visit to Washington D.C. to meet with Republican party leaders about his candidacy to replace Snowe in the U.S. Senate. The report notes that Snowe was conspicuously absent from those meetings.
Not that many will be surprised. Snowe and Summers have been on the outs since Summers declined to publicly endorse Snowe against tea party challenger Scott D'Amboise. However, the story has some rather blunt comments from Snowe about whether she plans to stump with Summers or donate to his campaign.
From the piece:
"In an interview, Snowe said she had a prior engagement the evening Summers was in Washington: a fundraising event for a House GOP candidate from Maine, her former chief of staff Kevin Raye — who did happen to endorse Snowe over tea party challenger Scott D’Amboise. Snowe said she will support Summers, noting that the two are both Republicans. And she was listed as a co-host on the invite for the meet-and-greet for Summers at the National Republican Senatorial Committee headquarters near the Capitol.
But asked if she would appear at any fundraisers for Summers this year, give him a donation or stump with him on the campaign trail, Snowe said matter of factly: “Not at this moment.”
When pressed for the reason, Snowe was equally as blunt: “He didn’t endorse me in my own primary.”
In her published comments Snowe doesn't refer to Summers by name.
"“The nominee wasn’t able to endorse me,” Snowe told POLITICO last week. “He worked for me for [more than] six years, in addition to being SBA regional administrator, but he wasn’t able to endorse me during my primary.
The piece also has comments from Maine Republican Party Chairman Charlie Webster acknowledging that Summers may have mishandled Snowe's request for endorsement. Meanwhile, Summers campaign manager Lance Dutson reiterates that Summers didn't mean to slight Snowe.
It's unclear whether the flap will continue, but if it does it may cost Summers some needed campaign cash. Earlier this month Snowe announced that she would devote more than half of her $2 million campaign war chest to a proposed leadership center in Maine. She's said that the rest could be used to support Republican candidates, however, so far none of that money has gone to Summers.
Steve Mistler covers politics and government for the Portland Press Herald. He spends a lot of time in the hallways of the State House.