Thursday, December 5, 2013
With independent U.S. Senate candidate Angus King well ahead in the final pre-election polls, the bigger question now may not be whether he will win but what role he would play in the Senate.
If the Senate is evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats – and King wins as expected – the former governor could be a king-maker by deciding who serves as Senate majority leader and which party gets to assign chairmen and women of the committees. On the other hand, if either party wins a clear majority with a comfortable margin of votes, his influence will be much less.
The possibilities are laid out in a Associated Press item today that quotes former senate majority leaders Trent Lott, R-Miss., and Tom Daschle, D-S.D.
A month or two ago, King was getting a lot of national attention as a possible swing vote. Less so in recent weeks as Democratic candidates in several key states opened up leads in the polls (thanks in part to a couple of controversial comments about abortion by Republicans in Missouri and Indiana).
“It looks like the Democrats may hold the control of the Senate — I’m not ready to concede that, but they may — in which case there ain’t going to be no negotiating,” former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, R-Miss., told the Post. “He’ll go to the Democratic side and take what they give him.”
King, if he does win, won't be irrelevant in any case. Neither party will have a filibuster-proof super-majority. And there are just 100 votes in the entire Senate, giving Maine's Senators the same voting power as New York's and California's.
Open Season targets all of Maine's political wildlife, from Portland city government to the donkeys, elephants and independents stalking the Statehouse and U.S. Capitol.
John Richardson joined the Press Herald in 1990 after working as a reporter in New Jersey. He has covered a variety of beats, including marine issues, the environment and health care. He is now covering politics and focusing on Maine's U.S. Senate race.
John can be reached at 791-6324 or email@example.com
On Twitter: @jrichmaine
Colin Woodard has covered politics and elections for more than two decades, from Bosnia and Bucharest to Washington, D.C., Augusta, and Portland City Hall. He has written for a wide range of national and international publications and is the author of four books, including "American Nations," a history of North America's regional cultures. He joined the Portland Press Herald at the end of April and covers political finance and lobbying, among other things.
Colin can be reached at 791-6317 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Susan Cover has covered Maine politics for 10 years and worked in Kansas, Ohio and Rhode Island as a reporter. This year, she is focusing on covering the same-sex marriage debate for MaineToday Media.
Susan can be reached at 621-5643 or email@example.com
Michael Shepherd joined MaineToday Media in May 2012 after graduating from the University of Maine in Orono, where he edited The Maine Campus, the student newspaper there. Until November he'll be writing the Truth Test, a recurring feature analyzing political statements and advertising.
Michael can be reached at 621-5632 or firstname.lastname@example.org