Sometimes the best move is no move at all. Gov. LePage made the right choice by staying out of an effort to extend the deadline for candidates hoping to get a seat in the political musical chairs game created by Sen. Olympia Snowe’s surprise retirement announcement.

Her announcement not only opened up a seat that every political observer in America believed was Snowe’s for the taking, but the ensuing rush to take out petitions also created the potential for the biggest shake-up in Maine’s federal offices since the retirement of George Mitchell in 1994.

U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, who represents Maine’s 1st District, has said she is interested in joining the candidates who had already announced plans to run against Snowe. Former Govs. John Baldacci and Angus King also might get into the mix, and so might a host of state legislators, former office holders and those who aspire to be, all scrambling to deliver the right number of verified signatures of registered voters to the Secretary of State’s office by March 15.

Some argue that the timing of Snowe’s announcement left too little time for less established candidates to get their acts together. LePage initially seemed open to signing a bill that would change the law and extend the deadline, but on Wednesday, word was that he was inclined to leave things alone.

It is the right call. As the flurry of activity shows, there are more than enough people willing to fill these three jobs. If a candidate can’t put together a team to gather 2,000 signatures for the Senate seat or 1,000 for the House in about 10 days, it says more about the candidate’s weakness than that of the process.

Partisanship has become a negative force in our politics, especially in Washington, and it was cited by Snowe as the reason for her abrupt announcement. But it is in times like these that we see what political parties are for. They have the organizational muscle to get names on the ballot and through primaries, and (in more subtle off-the-record talks) the parties winnow the field and offer a clear choice when it’s time to vote in the general election.

Extending the deadline would only beef up the number of candidates and shorten the period for the real campaign, which won’t begin until the field is finalized. LePage was right to let this process play out.