CAPE ELIZABETH — Shifting political sands that rippled through Maine this week after the announcement by U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, that she will not seek a fourth term have changed the plans of state Sen. Cynthia Dill, D-Cape Elizabeth.

On Tuesday morning, Dill was one of four Democrats seeking her party’s nomination to unseat Snowe in November. By the end of the day Wednesday, Dill had taken out nomination papers to run for southern Maine’s 1st Congressional District seat.

Dill, who was unavailable for comment, was elected to the state Senate District 7 seat less than a year ago. She must gather at least 1,000 signatures and no more than 1,500 by 5 p.m. March 15 to be placed on the ballot for the seat now held by Democratic U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree.

Dill now serves a district comprised of Cape Elizabeth, South Portland and the eastern portion of Scarborough. She replaced former Sen. Larry Bliss when she defeated South Portland businessman Louis Maietta Jr. in a special election last May.

Before winning her Senate seat, Dill served Cape Elizabeth in House District 121. She won her first term in 2006, and was a town councilor before her election to state office.

Dill drew attention and ire last year when she introduced a bill to the Legislature outlining a process for recalling elected officials. The bill did not move forward to a vote in the Legislature.

When running against Maietta, a video clip featured on Dill’s campaign website showed her standing on a stone in South Portland that contains a plaque dedicated to the memory of Vietnam veteran Capt. John E. Duffy and all prisoners of war and those missing in action.

Dill later apologized, and said she believed the actual memorial to Duffy and the veterans was a tree planted next to the stone, all located next to the South Portland Public Library. She also said the incident was exaggerated by her opponents.

Dill is leaving the Senate race as Pingree and U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud of the 2nd Congressional District enter it. State Rep. Jon Hinck, of House District 118 in Portland, announced he is also shifting from the Senate race to run for Pingree’s seat.

Portland builder Benjamin Pollard said he will stay in the U.S. Senate race.

Primary elections are June 12, and the general election is Nov. 6.

David Harry can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or [email protected]. Follow David on Twitter: @DavidHarry8.

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Maine state Sen. Cynthia Dill, D-Cape Elizabeth.

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