ME-SEN: Who are Maine Democrats supporting?

posted at 11:31 am on September 29, 2012 by Jazz Shaw

The Senate race in Maine this year is shaping up to be yet another twisted tale, with three candidates in the ring instead of the normal two. The GOP has put up (and heavily funded) Charlie Summers, who faces the unenviable task of trying to hold on to the seat currently filled by Olympia Snowe. The Democrats have nominated Cynthia Dill, and you’re to be forgiven if you take a moment here to ask…”who?” (Dill is a state senator and civil rights lawyer.) But both of them are butting heads with former Governor Angus King, a registered independent.

This is clearly a problem for both parties, because King seems to be a perennial favorite in Maine, having won reelection to the Governor’s mansion with one of the highest margins in the state’s history. He’s also nearly 70 years old and some observers seem to be surprised that he decided to jump back onto the battlefield at this late stage.

But the Democrats have more problems. The DSCC is pumping money into the race, but nobody is precisely sure who they are supporting. In fact, their own candidate seems to be feeling pretty darned unappreciated lately.

Maine Democratic Senate hopeful Cynthia Dill has essentially had to sing “I’m still here” to the DSCC as independent candidate Angus King remains in the lead (and national Democrats seem to assume he’ll tilt their way in the Senate should he win).

So it was surprising to see this column from Maine Democratic Party chairman Ben Grant in the Portland Press Herald that raises the eyebrow pretty high as to whether King actually will caucus with Democrats if elected, in a pushback piece against calls for Dill to step aside. At minimum it is a different message than the no-explicit-endorsement one coming from national Democrats about their own candidate, in a race where Republicans and outside groups are making a major play on behalf of Republican Charlie Summers

So at least some of the Democrats have actually been calling for Dill to step aside and clear the path for King to defeat Summers – a call being widely panned in some quarters – because they’re assuming that King will caucus with their side. But would he? The only thing I see in his bio which hints at party affiliation is that he worked as a legislative assistant to a Democratic Senator in the seventies.

But no matter which way this particular wind ends up blowing, losing this seat is another blow the GOP doesn’t need in a cycle where they’re struggling to retake the Senate. Angus King is turning out to be a serious fly in the ointment.


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…no RINO this time!

KOOLAID2 on September 29, 2012 at 11:34 AM

Angus King is running to the LEFT of the Democrat. He is NOT an “independent,” matter fact King is as Independent as Bernie Sanders (Socialist-Vermont).

Raquel Pinkbullet on September 29, 2012 at 11:36 AM

…is King a bigger socialist than Dill?

KOOLAID2 on September 29, 2012 at 11:37 AM

Raquel Pinkbullet on September 29, 2012 at 11:36 AM

…thanks!

KOOLAID2 on September 29, 2012 at 11:38 AM

King is very left wing. He was pro-stimulus. He thought Obamacare was too conservative. Regardless, though, he has said he’s voting for Obama in November.

AngusMc on September 29, 2012 at 11:39 AM

Unless the Republican wins, we’re screwed either way, though it’s hard to say what could be worse than the execrable Olympia (“Thanks to me you have Obamacare”) Snowe.

natasha333 on September 29, 2012 at 11:46 AM

King is very left wing. He was pro-stimulus. He thought Obamacare was too conservative. Regardless, though, he has said he’s voting for Obama in November.

AngusMc on September 29, 2012 at 11:39 AM

Yeah, Independent… a true mystery if he would caucus with Democrats. Shaw, what have you been smoking today?

Valkyriepundit on September 29, 2012 at 11:46 AM

Another state that given NO CHOICE from the gop would just rather vote for the only party that believes in something.

RINOGEDDON is what the gop needs from top to bottom.

PappyD61 on September 29, 2012 at 11:50 AM

It would be nifty if King and Dill split the liberal vote and open the way for Summers.

STL_Vet on September 29, 2012 at 11:51 AM

There is a Libertarian Party candidate in the race – Andrew Ian Dodge.

Cut Medicare, cut corporate taxes, abolish the Dept. of Education. Sounds like the ad is directed at the Libertarian, not the Republican. I’m sure Dodge would be surprised to learn that his Republican opponent, whom he regards as quite middle-of-the-road, has stolen his platform.

ericdondero on September 29, 2012 at 12:16 PM

In Maine, the two Republican senators were Democrats and ol’ Angus falls into a more distinction. He was a “do-nothing” governor, status-quo, friend of the Baldacci leftests that wound up sinking the State.

Angus is a step backwards, which is what Maine seems to feel safe doing most of the time.

Hening on September 29, 2012 at 12:21 PM

because they’re assuming that King will caucus with their side. But would he?
Jazz, give up on trying to push our buttons. Stop the nonsense before you have us grabing the lanterns and pitchforks and hiting the streets looking for anyone who will admit to being your friend. King will win and be another nitemare for us.

RickinNH on September 29, 2012 at 12:30 PM

So, let me get this straight. They offer up a near socialist, an extreme left Democrat, and I got no information on this Charlie Summers guy, but I am guessing he is the same as Olympia Snow with a 36 ACU rating. Isn’t this exactly the time you would want to put up someone with a rock solid conservative rating?

astonerii on September 29, 2012 at 12:35 PM

Maybe the dem and the independent will split the vote, allowing the republican to win. Wishful thinking on my part?

Othniel on September 29, 2012 at 12:37 PM

…Gary Johnson needs to move to Maine.

KOOLAID2 on September 29, 2012 at 12:40 PM

When I was up in Maine visiting family this summer I saw a couple of Chamber ads that hit Angus King pretty hard. “King of Spending” and “Bad for Business”.

The day after I saw it both newspapers I read, the Sun Journal and the Press Herald, ran articles headlined “Business Owners Back King Against Chamber Ads”.

The article was supposed to have a number of business owners backing King, but it just had two. One I had never heard of, and the Owner of Hancock Lumber.

Here’s the problem. Angus King is ON the Board of Directors at Hancock Lumber? What the hell did the newspaper expect Hancock to say?

Corruption at its finest, and it is exactly why Angus King will win. I pray for my home state, but it looks like LePage will be out in a couple of years too. Not enough goodies are being handed out. It’s hard for a conservative to win in a state that has 50% of its population receiving government benefits.

cantaffordcollege on September 29, 2012 at 12:42 PM

Saw Angus give a TV State of the State speech as Maine Governor. The guy was an absolute Loon. But for some strange reason many folks in Maine love the guy, which is why Dill is in such a pickle.

Del Dolemonte on September 29, 2012 at 12:43 PM

Bernie Sanders in an “independent” too. Who does he caucus with? That should answer your question. This is just misinformation put out there by the King campaign to make him seem more independent. Ooooh we don’t really know who he will caucus with.

Wigglesworth on September 29, 2012 at 12:49 PM

I despise King. He never saw, as governor, a leftist.democrat bill that he didn’t like. The only thing “independent” about him is that he is not enrolled in any party.

Up here in Maine, he got legislation passed to permit wind farms that have blighted a large part of our skyline. He also, it turns out, invested in those same projects and reaped a tidy sum from that.

The man simply cannot be trusted. In addition, his wife is of the same mold as Michelle Obama, and wants desperately to get back to the DC party/social network, and out of Maine which she despises as some backwoods hickville.

As for Charlie Summers, he worked for awhile for Olympia Snowe. He is a more centrist Republican, but not as far left as Snowe.

Charlie is also a Navy Officer (reserves) who has deployed to the Middle East and has a pretty solid military reputation.

But the GOP absolutely needs to find a way to destroy King, to crush him before he can get elected, because he will add another far-left vote to the Senate.

TKindred on September 29, 2012 at 1:00 PM

King is a doddering idiot. And this isn’t about his age, which is still a factor to me, and I’m old. He is a Left wing loon and the Dems are spreading this message that he may not caucus with them to attract independents. Why? Because they actually like him better than Dill and hope he wins. Maybe we can hope he splits the Dem vote, though I doubt that will help.
Maine is what it is, Oregon East.

Deanna on September 29, 2012 at 1:05 PM

Splitting the left does not help the Democrat win.

It will be a squeaker but as soon as Charlie Summers has his first vote that does not go right down on the right litmus test the cries to have him be primaries out will start even if only in March of his first term. Even if Mitch is the senate majority leader and his election made part of the possible.

tjexcite on September 29, 2012 at 1:12 PM

I am disgusted that we were formerly thought to be close to taking the senate—now it seems the conventional wisdom is that DEMs will hold the senate and POTUS and take some of the House back. All this while things in the country have got much much worse. WHAT is going on folks?

AnnaS on September 29, 2012 at 1:16 PM

I’ll take a fly in the ointment over a wasp in the custard any day.

njcommuter on September 29, 2012 at 1:23 PM

King is a liberal and a greenie of the AlGore type and left the state with a billion dollars of debt among other things.

Someone tell Priebus to start dumping some serious cash into the Dill campaign to start pulling votes away from King. Most low information voters in this state will vote for King for no other reason than they remember his name and we never see any tv ads for either Summers or Dill. But plenty of Angus ads during prime time.

This is an easy seat for the GOP to win if they wanted to play a little chess with the Dill campaign.

maineconservative on September 29, 2012 at 1:26 PM

king is not as well liked in maine (above portland line) as the pingree owned media makes him out to be.
people are waking up.
remember in 2010 we had a historic turnover here.

dmacleo on September 29, 2012 at 1:56 PM

Maine had 453,000 people receiving welfare benefits in 2010. At the same time, the state had only 445,000 tax filers who paid taxes. Of course a left wing socialist like Angus King will do well there.

bayview on September 29, 2012 at 2:01 PM

Maine also has a marginal state income tax rate of 8.5% on income over $20350. Must be a joy to live in a socialist backwater like Maine.

bayview on September 29, 2012 at 2:13 PM

Many (most) of the Ron Paul supporters seem to be in King’s corner, which is a puzzle considering that King is the polar opposite of Ron Paul in every respect……seems that the Paul supporters have no idea wtf they stand for.

tractah on September 29, 2012 at 2:41 PM

Ttruck drivers will curse the dispatcher that gives them a load to Maine. He/She could sit there for a week before getting a load out.

davidk on September 29, 2012 at 3:20 PM

Unless the Republican wins, we’re screwed either way, though it’s hard to say what could be worse than the execrable Olympia (“Thanks to me you have Obamacare”) Snowe.

natasha333 on September 29, 2012 at 11:46 AM

What the hell are you talking about? She voted against Obamacare, as did Collins. I don’t expect you “RINO-hunters” to ever exhibit any logic, but could you at least get your facts straight?

BuzzCrutcher on September 29, 2012 at 3:39 PM

That’s why he’s in there, it’s 6 years of doing nothing but self-aggrandizement while reaping 150K plus expenses/benefits/pension. He saw an opening to be placed on a pedestal as an ‘independent’.

My only question is who else does it, or will it, benefit for him to be in the Senate. Beware the ghost of Murtha..

John Kettlewell on September 29, 2012 at 3:42 PM

seems that the Paul supporters have no idea wtf they stand for.

tractah on September 29, 2012 at 2:41 PM

That was not painfully obvious when you look at what their professed ideal government and society would be like?

We want to allow people the freedom to do anything they want, so long as they do not directly inhibit other people doing anything they want. We then want all these people doing anything they want to be responsible for their personal choices even when their personal choices leave them incapable of being responsible.

astonerii on September 29, 2012 at 4:02 PM

What the hell are you talking about? She voted against Obamacare, as did Collins. I don’t expect you “RINO-hunters” to ever exhibit any logic, but could you at least get your facts straight?

BuzzCrutcher on September 29, 2012 at 3:39 PM

She of when History calls, History calls fame. The only Republican to vote for Obamacare that allowed it out of committee that Olympia Snowe.

RickB on September 29, 2012 at 4:07 PM

She of when History calls, History calls fame. The only Republican to vote for Obamacare that allowed it out of committee that Olympia Snowe.

RickB on September 29, 2012 at 4:07 PM

Bob, I will take statements that are true for $1trillion.

astonerii on September 29, 2012 at 4:11 PM

Many (most) of the Ron Paul supporters seem to be in King’s corner, which is a puzzle considering that King is the polar opposite of Ron Paul in every respect……seems that the Paul supporters have no idea wtf they stand for.

tractah on September 29, 2012 at 2:41 PM

Probably about 95% of Paul supporters in Maine are only Paul supporters because they are stoners.

cantaffordcollege on September 29, 2012 at 7:49 PM

Maine had 453,000 people receiving welfare benefits in 2010. At the same time, the state had only 445,000 tax filers who paid taxes. Of course a left wing socialist like Angus King will do well there.

bayview on September 29, 2012 at 2:01 PM

And the media went nuts when LePage mentioned this and told the free-loaders to get off the couch and get a job. Hahahahah

cantaffordcollege on September 29, 2012 at 7:51 PM

I grew up in Downeast Maine(ayuh). King is a dirtbag. Don’t know who was worse, him or that putz, Balsacky….

Never understood why he is so popular.

DStreete on September 29, 2012 at 10:57 PM

King is one of those leftists who will swear up and down he’s not a Democrat, but will agree with them 99% of the time. (To be fair, there are both righties and lefties who value that ‘Independent’ label, despite voting 95% for the same party)

But he is a weasel-y politico, so I could seeing him caucusing with the GOP if, for example, Romney won and the GOP had 49 seats, giving King the power to give them the majority (w/ VP Ryan’s tiebreaker). He would do it, of course, in exchange for something. In those circumstances, he would go to the highest bidder, and the price would be high to get him to vote to repeal Obamacare.

(Though it’s better to be in the majority of course. If the Senate flipped in the next election, he might change sides -if the Dems will have him- and he could trumpet his own ‘independence’. But at that point, who would care?)

Jingo95 on September 30, 2012 at 2:40 AM