PORTLAND – U.S. Senate candidate William Schneider said Friday that he will resign as Maine’s attorney general if he wins the Republican primary on June 12.

Schneider, who took office as attorney general in January 2011, announced his decision at a news conference Friday at One City Center.

“It simply will not be possible to give my constitutional office the attention it needs while running a winning, statewide campaign for the United States Senate,” he said, reading a prepared statement.

Rick Bennett, another Republican Senate candidate, released a statement shortly after Schneider’s announcement, criticizing some of his opponents in the primary for “playing musical chairs with their political offices.”

“The ink is barely dry on their last campaign signs on new letterheads when they jump into a contest in order to seek another political position,” he said in the statement.

Bennett has questioned how his opponents who hold constitutional offices — Schneider, state Treasurer Bruce Poliquin and Secretary of State Charlie Summers — would handle their campaigns and their day jobs.

Schneider said he has used vacation time when his campaign has taken him away from his job.

He said the decision to resign would be a difficult one, but he realized he could not fulfill both commitments.

“I do love the job, and I love the people I work with,” he said.

“It’s kind of formed in my head as the campaign has gone on,” he said of his decision. “And frankly, I’m almost out of vacation time.”

Staff Writer Leslie Bridgers can be contacted at 791-6364 or at:

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