PORTLAND – Independent Angus King has picked up the endorsement of the Maine Education Association, a teacher’s union that often backs Democratic candidate" /> PORTLAND – Independent Angus King has picked up the endorsement of the Maine Education Association, a teacher’s union that often backs Democratic candidate" /> PORTLAND – Independent Angus King has picked up the endorsement of the Maine Education Association, a teacher’s union that often backs Democratic candidate" />
Tuesday October 09, 2012 | 06:17 PM

PORTLAND – Independent Angus King has picked up the endorsement of the Maine Education Association, a teacher’s union that often backs Democratic candidates.

King’s campaign and the MEA announced the endorsement on Tuesday.

“Maine educators and students need Angus King on their side as we continue to work to make public schools the place where Maine students succeed,” Lois Kilby-Chesley, president of the MEA, said in a statement.

The MEA’s endorsement is another union pick-up for King and arguably another slight for the Democrat in the race, state Sen. Cynthia Dill. Dill picked up the endorsement of the state employees union -- the 15,000-member Maine State Employees Association Local 189 Service Employees International Union -- in August but she has lost other endorsements to King.

Although King has refused to say publicly which party he would caucus with in Washington if elected, many Democrats appear to be banking on King affiliating himself with their party.

In state Senate races, 26 of the 27 candidates listed on the MEA’s endorsements page on the Web on Tuesday were Democrats. The one exception was Republican Roger Sherman in the District 34 race. And in that case, the MEA appears to have endorsed both Sherman and his Democratic opponent, Dan Levesque.

The organization has endorsed other Republicans in the past, however. For instance, Sen. Olympia Snowe, who is retiring next year, received the group’s endorsement in 2000. But the MEA backed Democratic U.S. Rep. Tom Allen over Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins in 2006.

In a statement released Tuesday night, Dill did not address the MEA endorsement but defended her record on education issues.

"I have been married to a high school math teacher for over 22 years, so I am in touch with the challenges of teachers and this valuable and honorable profession," Dill said. "My record supporting public education and teachers is stronger than anyone else in this race, and I am the only candidate on the record supporting the repeal of unfair offsets, including the Government Pension Offset and Windfall Elimination Provision that unfairly reduces Social Security benefits that public employees have earned."

Note: This post was corrected on Oct. 11th to reflect that the Maine Education Association has also endorsed Republican Roger Sherman in the District 34 state Senate race.

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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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