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Friday September 09, 2011 | 03:21 PM

Sen. Olympia Snowe is one of six GOP senators benefiting from a big bucks fundraiser in Nashville from Sept. 30-Oct. 1, with invitations going out to lobbyists and others with political action committees able to pay the $6,000 price tag, plus transportation and hotel costs.

The Washington Post’s Al Kamen reported today on the “Nashville Songwriters Weekend,” which includes a tour of the Country Music Hall of Fame and private dinners with the senators. The event is being hosted by GOP Sen. Lamar Alexandar of Tennessee, and in addition to Snowe, R-Maine, the other Republican senators are John Barrasso of Wyoming, Scott Brown of Massachusetts, Orrin Hatch of Utah, Dick Lugar of Indiana and Roger Wicker of Mississippi. Alexander is not up for reelection until 2014.

(Updated as of 3:50 p.m. : Snowe was asked by Alexander to attend the event, and it is Alexander who is issuing the fundraiser invitations, said Snowe campaign spokeswoman Sharon Hill.

Hill noted that Alexander was governor of Tennessee when Snowe’s husband, John “Jock” McKernan, was governor of Maine.

“They became friends and Olympia serves with him now,” Miller said via email. “She is one of the guests at an event being hosted by Senator Alexander and it will raise funds for a small group of Republican senators who are up for re-election this cycle - Senator Alexander invited her as he wants to help her re-election effort.”)  

Snowe is up for reelection in 2012, and is bidding for a fourth term.

Snowe is being challenged in the GOP primary by two Tea Party affiliated candidates, Scott D’Amboise of Lisbon Falls, a health care technician and owner of a commercial cleaning business, and Andrew Ian Dodge of Harpswell, a free-lance writer.

Snowe reported having more than $2.7 million in campaign cash on hand after the second quarter, compared to about $117,000 in D’Amboise’s campaign chest. Dodge told the Federal Election Commission July 30 that he had not yet reached the $5,000 reporting threshold as of the end of the second quarter, but expected to file a campaign report after the third quarter.

Two Democrats are considering running against Snowe: state Rep. Jon Hinck of Portland and former Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap of Old Town.

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Kevin Miller is Washington bureau chief for the Portland Press Herald and MaineToday Media. He has worked as a journalist in Maine for 6 ½ years, covering the environment, politics and the State House. Before arriving in Maine, he wrote about politics, government and education for newspapers in Virginia and Maryland.
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