Tuesday October 09, 2012 | 03:50 PM

PORTLAND -- Charlie Summers builds a mean cardboard box fort.

Sen. Cynthia Dill was tap dancing decades before she joined the political theater.

And former Gov. Angus King? Well, he can open Coke bottles – and presumably other types of beverages – with his teeth.

Those are a few insights into the more personal lives of three of the people who hope to be Maine’s next U.S. senator. Chris Hall, senior vice president of government relations for the Portland Regional Chamber, asked the candidates at a debate on Tuesday to share something about themselves that the crowd of 400 or so people wouldn’t already know.

Here are their responses:

Dill, the Democratic nominee: “I am the second-youngest in a family of nine. I took ballet, tap and jazz as a little girl. And I was in a fife and drum corps.”

King, an independent: “I was the first male chair of the St. Paul’s Episcopal Church Christmas Fair, ever. We set a record for revenues because I made the knitting ladies raise their prices. The other little-known fact, although my kids are well aware of this, is that I can open Coke bottles with my teeth.”

Summers, the Republican nominee and Maine secretary of state: “I am a horse lover. I have two horses that I’ve adopted off of the racetrack as well as a barn cat. I have adopted a number of Gordon setters. I enjoy animals. I, also, am a tremendous fort builder with my 3-year-old son, Tom. We have a penchant for taking boxes and making them into forts. And that is probably the most fun thing that I do throughout the course of these months, that’s for sure.”

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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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