Monday April 09, 2012 | 10:16 AM

This may not be what former Gov. Angus King had in mind when he said he wants to help end bitter partisanship in politics.

But, as it turns out, he has already found some common ground for Democrats and Republicans. And all it took was for him to announce himself an independent candidate for the U.S. Senate.

While Democrats and Republicans are complaining that King is getting too much media attention for someone who hasn’t even filed nomination papers (his are due June 1), the partisans are pretty well focused on King themselves.

Both sides have sent press releases criticizing King in recent weeks. In fact, at the first round of Democratic and Republican primary debates, the candidates from both parties talked more about King than about their potential opponents from the other party.

One of the first questions asked of the Republicans at Thursday evening’s forum in Presque Isle was, can you beat Angus King?

Former state Senate President Rick Bennett insisted that King’s record as governor will not look as good to voters once they are reminded about the growth in government during his years in the Blaine House.

In fact, King was one of the few topics that Democrats and Republicans agreed about in their recent debates. The others were Congress is broken and the federal debt is bad.

There are a few big reasons for the bipartisan fixation with King. His name and his money are two big ones, of course. Another – and maybe the most important – is the independent-minded Maine voter.

I wrote a story for the weekend about voter registration trends in Maine and how we compare to other states. We are pretty much considered a political oddity because of our independent streak, although it seems that other states are moving in our direction.

About the Author

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Open Season is your guide to the 2014 campaign. Our team of political writers has its sights set on Maine’s major elections, from the Blaine House to the U.S. Capitol.

Steve Mistler is covering the 2014 governor's race. He covers politics and government for the Portland Press Herald. He spends a lot of time in the hallways of the State House.
Steve can be reached at 791-6345 or
On Twitter: @stevemistler

Eric Russell is covering Independent Eliot Cutler during the 2014 governor's race. He is a general assignment reporter for the Portland Press Herald.
Eric can be reached at 791-6344 or
On Twitter: @pphericrussell

Matt Byrne is covering Republican Paul LePage during the 2014 governor's race. He covers Falmouth, Cumberland, North Yarmouth, Yarmouth and Freeport for the Portland Press Herald.
Matt can be reached at 791-6303 or
On Twitter: @mattbyrnePPH

Randy Billings is covering Democrat Mike Michaud during the 2014 governor's race. He covers Portland City Hall for the Portland Press Herald.
Randy can be reached at 791-6346 or
On Twitter: @randybillings

Kevin Miller is covering Maine's U.S. Senate race and 1st Congressional District race. He covers politics and government for the Portland Press Herald.
Kevin can be reached at 317-6256 or
On Twitter: @kevinmillerdc

Michael Shepherd is covering Maine's 2nd Congressional District race. He is a news and State House reporter for the Kennebec Journal.
Michael can be reached at 621-5632 or
On Twitter: @mikeshepherdME

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