SKOWHEGAN — Independent U.S. Sen. Angus King of Maine said Tuesday that as a result of next week’s elections, the makeup of the new Senate is likely to be so closely divided between Democrats and Republicans that it could come down to the next vice president to break ties in the chamber.

The vice president serves as president of the Senate and can be called upon to cast a deciding vote if a bill is deadlocked, noted King, who is independent but caucuses with Democrats.

“It’s very close,” King said during a tour of Maine Stitching Specialties in Skowhegan. “It’s going to be close either way – one or two votes either way.”

Thirty-four of the 100 seats in the Senate are up for grabs. Republicans hold 54 Senate seats, while the Democrats have 44 seats. Two seats are held by independents, including King.

“I’ll be one of the people in the middle, that’s for sure,” he said. “It may end up 50-50, and then whoever the vice president is will decide and cast a tie-breaking vote. That’s entirely possible.”

King declined to say much Tuesday about the continuing controversy involving Hillary Clinton’s emails, noting only that he didn’t think FBI Director James Comey’s recent actions were politically motivated.

“That’s not what I’m here to talk about,” King said.

King toured manufacturing plants in Somerset County on Tuesday with two of his aides and with Heather Johnson, executive director of the Somerset Economic Development Corp.

The tour also included Tasman Leather in Hartland, Cousineau Wood Products in Anson and Maine Woods Pellet Co. in Athens.

The visits were intended to highlight made-in-Maine and made-in-USA products, promote the success of Maine manufacturers and show how the revitalization of manufacturing contributes to economic growth and development efforts across rural Maine.

Maine Stitching Specialties, owned by Bill and Julie Swain, manufactures premium custom draperies, window treatments, American and Maine state flags, and other textiles, including Dog Not Gone pet visibility vests for L.L. Bean. Last year, the company received a federal grant that supported its continued growth.

The couple bought the Dane Street factory early in 2015 and opened there in March of that year, moving the company from Kingfield, where it had outgrown its quarters. They went national with a contract with Wal-Mart this year.

King viewed the manufacturing process at Maine Stitching, noting that some of the products include tick-repellent safety dog vests and products that will be shipped to Florida to repel mosquitoes that carry the Zika virus.

“This is sort of manufacturing day in central Maine,” King said during the Skowhegan tour. “It’s about how we can help and what I can do to make it work and help manufacturing in high unemployment areas.”

King said he already has made some calls to a fellow congressman in Florida about the mosquito repellent garments, some of which are designed for women. He said his office can also help with getting the Department of Defense to acquire Maine-made apparel and other products.