April 17, 2012

An obstacle in the path of King: He's not a woman

Maine often elects females to the Senate, and Democrats think they will be key to victories this year, but the independent's views do align with those of many women.

By STEVE PEOPLES/The Associated Press

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"It's patronizing to women to say you have to be a member of the female gender in order to support the interests and rights and privacy of women," says independent former Gov. Angus King, who is running for the U.S. Senate seat to be vacated by Olympia Snowe.

2012 File Photo/John Ewing

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"In my view, it's critically important to have more women at the table making decisions," says state Sen. Cynthia Dill, D-Cape Elizabeth, who is running in the June U.S. Senate primary.

2012 File Photo/Gordon Chibroski

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Dill's identity as a mother and outspoken advocate for women in the state Legislature has come to define her candidacy. But there is very little practical difference between the woman-related policies that Dill would support versus those of King.

They have the same positions on abortion, access to contraception and Planned Parenthood. The differences, Dill says, are more personal.

"He and I live very different lives," she said. "I have right now, two kids in high school, that I get up for in the morning and make their breakfast and make their lunch and do their grocery shopping. And I gave birth to them."

Many agree that women are best suited to defending women's rights on Capitol Hill. But that's not enough to convince the DSCC to support Dill.

The committee does not plan to take a position on the race until after the Democratic primary, said spokesman Shripal Shah.

With control of the Senate at stake, the prospect of winning a seat held by Republicans for nearly two decades appears to be superseding the desire to keep the seat in female hands.

King refuses to say whether he'll side with Democrats or Republicans if elected, but his policies are largely in line with Democrats, who hold a 51-47 majority in the Senate plus two independents who caucus with Democrats.

The Republican candidates include Secretary of State Charles Summers and state Treasurer Bruce Poliquin.

Dill is struggling to raise money. She collected roughly $25,000 in the first fundraising quarter. And she is still largely unknown among many Democrats statewide.

King raised more than $135,000 in the first two weeks of his campaign, in addition to a personal loan of nearly $38,000. He reported $142,000 in his campaign account at the end of March, according to federal filings.

 

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U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe

2010 File Photo/Kat Franchino

  


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