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Monday, October 1, 2012

Maine's Merry Go Round

There is an interesting race shaping up in Maine. In the race to replace retiring Senator Olympia Snowe the favorite is a two time governor, Angus King who, running as an independent, has a dependency problem on a $407,000 "success fee" he received in 2011 from a wind energy project that remains in business today only because it received a $102 million federal loan he played a major role in securing. King served as governor from 1996 to 2004. He has never said as much but if elected he is expected to caucus with the Democrats and for this reason the Democratic Party will not endorse its putative candidate, Cynthia Dill.

Having two entries in a three horse race can be difficult to manage as the Democrats have now realized. In August when King held a commanding 28 point lead over the Republican candidate, Charlie Summers life was simple. Life was good. The Democrats stood to win a senate seat, literally by doing nothing. Summer has come and gone and so has King's commanding lead. Polling shows the gap to be in the 8% to 12% range, hardly comfortable in a state that in 2010 elected a Republican governor and a Republican controlled legislature.

Dill, with no party support has never polled even 15% but suddenly the DSCC has figured it could have been too clever. The Republican Party is full square behind Summers and King, without party support is beginning to fade going into the stretch. Maine Democratic Party chairman Ben Grant in an opinion piece in the Portland Press Herald questioned whether or not King would caucus with either party. Now the DSCC has poured $410,000 into Dill's pocket still without endorsing her. Said NRSC executive director Rob Jesmer;“It’s remarkable to see national Democrats now spending money in a state where they refuse to even endorse their own nominee. Now that they are spending almost a half-million dollars in Maine, the DSCC should make clear who they are supporting — the Democratic nominee or the candidate that the State Democratic Party Chairman said today cannot be trusted.”

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