Wednesday, June 19, 2013
By DAVID SHARP The Associated Press
FALMOUTH - U.S. Senate candidate Steve Woods went on the offensive Wednesday against fellow independent Angus King, saying the former governor has become a political insider, so he's the wrong candidate to solve the problems that plague national politics.
The nine Republicans, Democrats and independents who are serving as King's state chairs collectively represent many decades of public service, Woods said.
"I don't think that the problems that we're facing can be solved by looking into the past," he said. "The problems ... have to be put in the context of the future."
Woods, who spoke to reporters as he unveiled his campaign headquarters on the campus of his marketing companies, collectively known as TideSmart, has previously professed his admiration for King.
Woods went so far as to "endorse" the presumed Senate frontrunner, calling him "more politically astute than Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan combined." He also references King on the home page of his campaign website.
But Woods made it clear that he thinks he would make a better senator because of his convictions, positions on issues and status as a political outsider.
Responding to questions from reporters, Woods accused King of being disingenuous by refusing to say which party he will caucus with if he's elected to fill the seat that's being vacated by Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe.
King has left the door open to caucusing with Republicans or Democrats, or neither. He also has said his partisan alignment could vary, depending on the issue.
Woods agrees with Republicans who have said all along that it's highly unlikely that King, a former Democrat, would caucus with Republicans.
"He'd have to be kidnapped by aliens and be tortured to say, 'Yes, I'm caucusing with the Republicans,'" Woods said.
The King campaign declined to comment.
Woods said he would caucus with Senate Democrats. Like King, Woods was a Democrat years ago, before becoming an independent.
Woods, whose companies focus on live marketing events and employ 50 people in Maine, said he would like to be Maine's new independent voice in the Senate.
He's putting his own money behind the candidacy, already committing $200,000 and expressing a willingness to spend as much as $1.3 million.
Like Snowe, who is abandoning the Senate because of what she called dysfunctional politics, Woods said politics must be fixed. That means getting people involved and retaking control of the process, he said.
"Politics have become too big. The infrastructure, the support, the special interests. It's become a machine that's become bigger than the role itself," he said.
Woods said he supports President Obama's health care overhaul despite reservations about some aspects. He said he hopes the U.S. Supreme Court will uphold key aspects of the health care law when it issues its ruling, probably today.