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Thursday December 22, 2011 | 09:26 AM

The National Journal’s respected Hotline politics site’s prediction for the outcome of the 2012 U.S. Senate race in Maine won’t give much cause for holiday cheer to those seeking to unseat Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine.

Hotline ranked Snowe’s seat 19th out of 20th on a list of Senate seats possibly in play next year, and contends there is little chance Snowe will lose either in the GOP primary or general election.

“The lack of a real, well-funded challenger from the right makes Snowe a safe bet in the primary. Democrats have two credible contenders duking it out for the nomination, and with it the right to lose to the incumbent,” says the Hotline assessment.

Snowe is being challenged in the primary by two tea party movement affiliated candidates, Scott D’Amboise of Lisbon Falls and Andrew Ian Dodge of Harpswell. The two Democrats vying for their party’s Senate nomination are state Rep. Jon Hinck of Portland and former Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap of Old Town.

(Updated as of 11 a.m.: Hinck’s campaign released a statement by Hinck charging that The Hotline prediction “fails to see what we are finding true on the ground here in Maine. Working families are desperate for a break.” Hinck criticizes Snowe and other Republicans for blocking President Obama’s $447 jobs bill and opposing a surcharge on millionaires’ income taxes that Democrats proposed that also would have paid for the payroll tax cut extension that remains mired in a partisan standoff.

“As communities, we are generous with our friends and family this time of year. However, if Washington had acted to expand payroll tax cuts, many of us could have done more to help our neighbors,” Hinck said.)


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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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