Monday, March 10, 2014
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D'Amboise also can't be discounted, said Hodgkin. A candidate could win with less than 30 percent of the vote, and D'Amboise -- like LePage in 2010 -- has support among tea party conservatives.
"He has strong commitment from activists on the ground," Hodgkin said.
The Democratic race also is hard to predict, the political scientists said. What's most striking about the primary, they said, is that the dust has settled and the four candidates are the same ones who were running before Snowe got out of the race.
King's entrance discouraged better-known candidates from jumping in, Maisel said.
"Gov. King, in many ways, pre-empted the field," he said. "It's very difficult for a Democratic candidate to run against him with any kind of negative campaign."
Snowe's announcement that she would retire because of partisanship and dysfunction in Congress is an ideal setup for an anti-party candidate like King. In fact, Maisel now says the Senate race that some have predicted will be an expensive, high-stakes contest will in fact be "a yawner" in the fall.
"I can't see either national party is going to invest heavily in this race," Maisel said.
Hodgkin disagreed, at least regarding the Republicans. The GOP sees King as leaning toward voting with Democrats, he said.
"The Republicans will not want to give up this seat," Hodgkin said. "It will be a good race, unless both parties quite frankly take a dive and nominate someone who represents an extreme."
Many of the candidates issued statements this week saying they are in it to win and looking forward to November's election.
Hinck, one of the Democrats, said one thing hasn't changed since Snowe got out of the race and King got in: "We're still running against somebody who's already been declared the winner."
MaineToday Media State House Writer John Richardson can be contacted at 620-7016 or at: