Maine has never really been at the top of the heap when it comes to political buzz – it's not often that one sees Maine political banter blaring from the national syndicates. A recent portrait of the independent ex-governor and current Senate candidate Angus King had to harken back to the civil war to find an adequate double in the revered Joshua Chamberlain, the same battle of Gettysburg colonel that my high school American history teacher not-so-secretly adored.
It has always been a state on the fringe in some ways – practical and sensible about politics in a hysterical national climate of party pandering. Both moderate Republican Senators Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe broke rank with their party-mates in supporting Obama’s stimulus bill back in 2009. With Snowe’s recent resignation from what she regarded as a divided Congress, the newly opened seat has caused more than its share of excitement across the country.
While the Senate primaries are underway, Angus King, the former independent governor, is being cast as the favorite. With a generally positive record as governor, including an overhaul of technology literacy in Maine’s public schools, King’s candidacy reminds the state that a politician’s first job is to create positive change for the local people, not to be entrapped by national party strategy drafted in Washington boardrooms.
With 2010’s gubernatorial election pitting an exciting Independent, Elliot Cutler, in a three-way race against party favorites, the winning candidate, Republican Paul LePage, didn’t receive the majority of the popular vote. This has clearly left a sour taste in some Mainers’ mouths – as evidenced by the ‘61%’ bumper stickers indicating the percent of Mainers that didn’t support the elected governor. I’m sure King, along with many Mainers, want to avoid a repeat of this confusion in the upcoming U.S. Senate decision.