Monday July 30, 2012 | 05:31 PM

A writer for Politico apparently caught Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, at the right moment and got the state's elder stateswoman to open up about her chilly relationship with the former staff member who wants her job.

As the Press Herald's Steve Mistler reported in April, Snowe has not commited any financial help to Republican nominee Charlie Summers despite a long relationship between the two and $2 million leftover in Snowe's campaign war chest. As Steve reported, the fallout is due to Summers not endorsing Snowe while she was facing a primary challenge from a Tea Party activist.

Politico caught up to Snowe after she missed a meeting last week between Summers and party leaders in Washington. Snowe said she had a prior engagement, but then opened up about the rift:

          But asked if she would appear at any fundraisers for Summers this year, give him a donation or stump with him on the campaign trail, Snowe said matter of factly: “Not at this moment.”
          When pressed for the reason, Snowe was equally as blunt: “He didn’t endorse me in  my own primary.”

And later:
         “He worked for me for [more than] six years, in addition to being SBA regional  administrator, but he wasn’t able to endorse me during my primary.”

Summers' campaign manager, Lance Dutson, told Politico the problem was a miscommunication and that Summers has always supported Snowe.

Meanwhile, Maine Republican Party Chairman Charlie Webster said he is hoping to set up a meeting with Snowe to talk about it.
          “He just didn’t handle it in the best way,” Webster said of Summers. “At some point, she will [come around]. I would be shocked if she didn’t help in any way she could.”

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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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