March 6, 2012

Former Gov. King announces he'll run for U.S. Senate

Angus King's independent candidacy is a plus, some observers say, but others believe it could contribute to a GOP win.

By Jonathan Riskind jriskind@mainetoday.com
Washington Bureau Chief

(Continued from page 1)

click image to enlarge

Angus King kisses his wife, Mary Herman, at Bowdoin College on Monday night after announcing his candidacy for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Olympia Snowe.

Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer

click image to enlarge

Angus King greets supporters at Bowdoin College on Monday night after announcing that he will run for the Senate seat being vacated by Olympia Snowe.

Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer:

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POTENTIAL CANDIDATES FOR CONGRESS

These people have taken out nomination papers for the two U.S. House seats and one Senate seat that will be on Maine’s ballot in November. The list does not include people who have expressed interest but not taken out papers and those who took out papers but later withdrew. Party candidates need at least 1,000 valid signatures for the House seats and 2,000 for the Senate seat by March 15. Independents have until June 1, the date of Maine’s primaries.

U.S. SENATE

Democrats
John Baldacci
Matthew Dunlap
Chellie Pingree
Benjamin Pollard

Republicans
Rick Bennett
Margaret Byrnes
Karen Carringer
Glen Craig
Scott D’Amboise
Debra Plowman
Bruce Poliquin
William Schneider
Robert Seeley
Michael Stoddard
Charlie Summers

Independents
Julia Carlson
Andrew Ian Dodge
Aaron Marston
Seamus Maguire
Verne Paradie Jr.

HOUSE DISTRICT 1
southern Maine

Democrats
Phil Bartlett
Shenna Bellows
Peter Chandler
David Costa
Cynthia Dill
Jon Hinck
Barry Hobbins
David Lemoine
Hannah Pingree
Wellington Lyons
Brendan P. Rielly
Diane Russell

Republicans
Patrick Calder
Jon Courtney
Markham Gartley
Arthur Kyricos
Debra Reagan
John Vedral

HOUSE DISTRICT 2
central/northern Maine

Democrat
Mike Michaud (incumbent)

Republican
Kevin Raye

He said Baldacci will “make the decision based on what he feels is the right thing to do.”

Former Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap of Old Town also is running as a Democrat.

On the Republican side, a number of potential candidates have taken out papers to circulate nomination petitions.

Maine Attorney General William Schneider said in an email during the weekend that he has decided to seek his party’s nomination.

Other Republicans who are considering running are Maine Secretary of State Charles Summers, state Treasurer Bruce Poliquin and ex-Maine Senate President Rick Bennett.

Also running is Scott D’Amboise, a tea party-affiliated candidate from Lisbon Falls who was challenging Snowe in the GOP primary.

Mark Brewer, an associate professor of political science at the University of Maine, said King could win as an independent in a three-way race, as he did in Maine’s gubernatorial elections in 1994 and 1998.

“How good his actual chances are will depend on who the major-party candidates are, and to a lesser extent on whether or not any other independents throw their hats into the ring,” Brewer said.

Sandy Maisel, a government professor at Colby College, said King is a formidable candidate. And if Pingree doesn’t run, King will be the favorite, an independent who can run to the center and raise enough money to compete with major-party candidates, Maisel said.

But Brent Littlefield, a GOP consultant in Washington who knows Maine well and advises Republican Gov. Paul LePage, said King’s relationship with Democrats “sets up a nice scenario for the Republican candidate” because King will capture Democratic votes regardless of who is the party’s nominee.

Spending for the race is expected to eclipse that for Maine’s Senate race in 2008, when Republican Sen. Susan Collins and Democrat Tom Allen generated a total of about $17.5 million.

One Democratic consultant has said he can envision this year’s candidates spending as much as $30 million in all, especially with a credible independent like King in the race. Millions more would be spent by the national party committees and outside groups.

King sidestepped questions about campaign finances Monday night, joking that he hopes he won’t have to finance his campaign himself, “and so does Mary (Herman),” his wife.

King said he doesn’t worry that his candidacy could lead to a Republican win. “I don’t go into campaigns planning to be a spoiler,” he said in the phone interview. “When I go into a campaign, I go in planning to win.”

He has until June 1 to file 4,000 signatures to get on the November ballot as an independent.

King, who is 67, was governor from 1995 to 2003, winning re-election in 1998 by a wide margin. In his first gubernatorial campaign, in 1994, Collins was the Republican candidate.

King has given nearly $3,000 in campaign contributions to Barack Obama: $1,750 in 2008, when Obama first ran, and $1,000 last fall, for Obama’s re-election campaign, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan campaign finance research organization.

King supported Republican George W. Bush for president in 2000, then endorsed Democrat John Kerry for president in 2004, criticizing Bush’s handling of the war in Iraq and the economy, and charging that Bush was too partisan and ideological.

King’s son, Angus King III, who was present for Monday’s announcement, worked in the Clinton White House.

Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia, said that as an independent senator, King would have to pick a party to caucus with if he wanted good committee assignments and maximum influence. Independents Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Joe Lieberman of Connecticut now caucus with Democrats.

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