Thursday September 20, 2012 | 12:10 PM

Former Gov. Angus King is in Washington, D.C. today to raise money for his campaign, including at one event in the home of a Democratic lobbyist.

King's trip comes as polls show the race tightening and as his wife, Mary Herman, is making her own appeal for donation to counter the anti-King ads by Republican groups "literally trying to buy this election."

King has taken at least two previous trips to D.C. for fundraisers, and at least one other event was hosted by Democratic lobbyists. 

Such excursions are a routine part of a U.S. Senate campaign, although it's trickier in King's case.  D.C. is a highly partisan town and he is running as an independent who says he wants to break through the partisan gridlock.

King has not said which party he would caucus with if elected. National Democrats clearly expect King to side with their party, but King has said his decision will be based on the balance of power in the Senate and on what is the best decision for the state. He also has suggested not caucusing with either party if he can negotiate committee assignments without  taking sides.

Some are suggesting King should simply declare his support for Democrats now that the race has tightened, but King is not likely to give up all his bargaining power at this point.

King is expcetd to attend multiple fundraisers on the trip. One is at the home of Patrick Murphy,  a long-time Democratic donor. Guests are being asked to donate $500, $1,000 or $2,500.

King's rivals have called him hypocritical for seeking money from partisan lobbyists when he claims to be running against the political influence of parties and money.

King's spokesman, Crystal Canney, told my colleague Kevin Miller today that the independent has to raise money to defend himself against Republican atatcks.

"We have to fundraise with $1.7 million in negative, attack money against Angus," Canney told  Miller. "And every single dollar that Angus raises is entirely disclosable. We are hot hiding from anybody."

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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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