Tuesday January 21, 2014 | 10:42 PM

WASHINGTON – A Bangor man who publicly flirted with the idea of running for Maine’s U.S. Senate seat as an independent said Tuesday that he won’t join the race after all because of a "lack of finances and interest."

Mike Turcotte, an adjunct professor at Eastern Maine Community College, announced earlier this month that he was exploring joining the two other declared candidates hoping to run against incumbent Sen. Susan Collins, a Republican.

Turcotte asked visitors to his website to share their views in an online survey. He received only “limited responses,” however.

“Although the survey results were encouraging, there were not enough to form a sample based on the number of visits to the website,” Turcotte said in a statement late Tuesday. “Of the limited responses, jobs and the economy remain the overwhelming concern for voters.  Also scoring high was the reinvestment in America’s infrastructure and limiting the amount of taxpayer dollars going overseas.”

Collins is seeking a fourth six-year term in the Senate. Erick Bennett, the founder of the conservative Maine Equal Rights Center, has said he plans to challenge Collins in the Republican primary but is not generally regarded as a serious threat at this point.

Shenna Bellows, the former executive director of the Maine Civil Liberties Union, is running on the Democratic ticket. Bellows raised more than $332,000 in the two months immediately following her announcement. Collins is expected to report roughly $3 million in cash on hand in the campaign finance filing due Jan. 31.

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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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