CAPE ELIZABETH —  After weighing her options last week, Maine Sen. Cynthia Dill says she’ll continue to run for U.S. Senate.

“I got into this race to make a difference in the U.S. Senate. I am thrilled to be back on the path,” said Dill as she reaffirmed her intention to replace U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine.

What has changed in the last 10 days is Snowe’s decision not to seek a fourth six-year term. Her announcement set off upheavals felt throughout Maine’s political landscape, culminating with an announcement by U.S. Rep Chellie Pingree that she would seek re-election in Maine’s 1st District instead of the Senate seat.

As rumors of who was in and out of the Senate race spread last week, Dill said she did take out nomination papers for the seat now held by Pingree. With Pingree’s decision to run for the U.S. House again, Dill wrote on her blog that she is no longer seeking the 1,000 signatures needed to be placed on the ballot for the House seat.

Dill said in an interview she is gathering signatures for the Senate seat. She needs turn in at least 2,000 signatures of registered Maine voters by March 15 to be part of the June 12 Democratic primary.

“It has been exciting and a little crazy,” Dill said about events since Snowe announced she was not running again.

Former Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap, Rep. Jon Hinck of Portland and Portland businessman Benjamin Pollard are also vying for the Democratic nomination. Former Gov. John Baldacci has taken out nomination papers.

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

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