Upon first glance, Sen. Angus King made a moral decision by not supporting Gina Haspel to be director of the CIA. Ms. Haspel’s history of destroying waterboarding evidence is more than disqualifying, especially given the current administration’s stance on torture.

However, what appears to be basic common sense from Maine’s junior senator is, unfortunately, far more likely careful political calculation and manipulation of Maine voters.

Sen. King has a consistent habit of sitting on the fence with a leg dangling on each side. One moment he’ll vote with Sen. Susan Collins and the Republicans; the next, he’ll take a stand against the administration, making liberals forget all about that bad vote.

He voted against banning abortions after 20 weeks just days after voting to confirm the corrupt Alex Azar to be our secretary of health and human services. He voted against a dangerous immigration proposal from President Trump, then voted for a Dodd-Frank rollback.

And in this case, Sen. King is voting against Haspel just days after supporting Mike Pompeo, a homophobic and Islamophobic war hawk, to be secretary of state. Sen. King’s tendency to vote with both sides of the aisle is reflected in his 47.1 percent rate of voting with Trump’s position (per FiveThirtyEight).

Angus King pleases conservatives while liberals aren’t looking, and pleases liberals while conservatives aren’t looking. A savvy political game, yes. A way to represent Maine effectively, not so much. Sen. King, no one can serve two masters.


As King’s competitor, I’ll point out when he does something right. But with ranked-choice voting, we no longer have to settle for a senator who does the right thing half the time. So, Sen. King: Good job on Haspel, but we haven’t forgotten about Pompeo or Azar or Dodd-Frank rollbacks or the countless other times that you’ve voted for your corporate sponsors and against Maine people.

Zak Ringelstein

Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate


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