On Tuesday, Mainers will be voting for their respective party’s candidate in the race for a recently vacated Senate seat (and not just any Senate seat): that of Olympia Snowe. The senior senator from Maine will be remembered for her populist approach and for wearing various hats during her career with the Republican Party.
News in February that Snowe would not seek reelection in November sent an immediate shockwave across Maine, and things didn’t settle down until former Governor Angus King put his name in the mix. Since then, many have already decided who they are going to vote for in November, hence the low turn-out in the polls today.
Snowe’s message of bipartisanship still rings loud in clear throughout Maine. Mainers pride themselves in being independent and self reliant, so they assume an independent voice could bring a similar representation to the Senate.
Unfortunately there’s something they are forgetting: Snowe’s seniority. Through tragedy, Snowe will have served a staggering 39 years in state and federal politics by the end of the year — an amazing feat.
King, a lawyer and businessman, served two terms as governor of Maine from 1995 to 2003.
Without caucusing, King will have a tough time pursuing the bipartisanship Snowe attempted every day. Especially with his age, we may see only two terms out of King if he were to be elected, giving no time for him to accumulate any type of seniority like fellow independent Joe Lieberman.
For those of you who don’t know, seniority equals pull in the Senate and King will need a lot of pull if he wants to match the bipartisanship Snowe worked on for 17 years as senator.
Out of the 10 candidates in Maine, I expect former Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap to take the Democratic primary. Unlike the others, Dunlap is from the 2district and has a great chance with this lackluster field.
On the Republican side, I see current Secretary of State Charlie Summers as the overall winner, but not my favorite. Summers ran the only TV commercial I saw out of any candidate. Attorney General William Schneider, although not from Maine, is a West Point graduate who believes in solution through deliberation and thoughtful cooperation, a message Snowe would be proud of.
Yes, the campaign signs have been out since May, but I wouldn’t be calling this primary anything but a prequel to an Angus King win. Republicans are still distraught with there loss; Democrats don’t want to have another three-way election go to a Republican again; both can’t put up a big enough candidate to fight King. I think most Mainers have already assumed he will be the eventual winner.