Thursday September 20, 2012 | 11:26 AM

WASHINGTON -- Angus King was back in the nation's capital Thursday to raise money for his independent bid for the U.S. Senate.

King, who served two terms as Maine governor, is apparently making the rounds and attending several fundraisers as the race to fill Sen. Olympia Snowe's seat appears to be tightening.

"We have to fundraise with $1.7 million in negative, attack money against Angus," said Crystal Canney, King's spokeswoman. "And every single dollar that Angus raises is entirely disclosable. We are not hiding from anybody."

Canney's latter statement is a reference to the amount of money being spent on anti-King ads by out-of-state political action committees and super PACs, which do not have the same donor disclosure requirements as candidates. When asked how many fundraisers King planned to attend, Canney replied "a few."

At least one of those will be hosted of Patrick Murphy, with donation levels of $2,500, $1,000 and $500, according to an invitation obtained by the Portland Press Herald. Murphy is a Washington lobbyist who frequently opens his home to Democratic candidates, according to the Sunlight Foundation's Political Party Time website, which tracks fundraisers around DC.

This isn't King's first trip to DC to shake hands and help fill his campaign coffers. Back in July, King was the beneficiary of an event thrown by Tony and Heather Podesta, a well-connected Washington couple who are major fundraisers for Democrats.

Although still the race leader, King's gap over his two major-party rivals appears to be shrinking. Two polls released on Wednesday put King 15 points and 8 points ahead of Republican Charlie Summers, the current Maine secretary of state. That is down from a 25-point lead in June polls.

Public Policy Polling had King with 43 percent, Summers with 35 percent and Democrat Cynthia Dill with 14 percent with 8 percent still undecided. The Maine People's Resource Center had King polling at 43.8 percent compared to 28.2 percent for Summers and 14.9 percent for Dill.

At least three outside organizations -- including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Republican Senatorial Committee -- have spent well over $1 million running ads against King in recent weeks.

Note: A typo in an earlier version of this story was corrected so that the quote by Crystal Canney now says the King campaign is "not hiding from anybody," as opposed to "hot hiding," whatever that would be. Thanks to a reader for pointing that out!

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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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