“I do find it frustrating, however, that an atmosphere of polarization and ‘my way or the highway’ ideologies has become pervasive in campaigns and in our governing institutions… Unfortunately, I do not realistically expect the partisanship of recent years in the Senate to change over the short term. So at this stage of my tenure in public service, I have concluded that I am not prepared to commit myself to an additional six years in the Senate.”
Senator Snowe, I applaud you for your polite but blunt honesty. I am also deeply saddened and disheartened that the sandbox mentality in Washington is going to cost not only Maine but our nation one of the few voices for reason, who has served her state faithfully and well for nearly forty years.
Yes, the political pundits are already scrambling to guess who might run for Sen. Snowe’s seat (not much time left to make up their minds – March 15th is the filing deadline). Liberals are crowing about how this nearly guarantees her seat will go to a Democrat, while the national Republican Party is reeling from the unexpected body blow. Having been reelected in 2006 with 74% of the vote, she was not seen as an endangered incumbent by anyone’s estimation. Her campaign was ready to rock and roll, she’d sent out invites to a fundraiser… so what happened?
Judging by her grace and strength, that may be the one question we may never know the answer to. There is bound to be scads of speculation, but probably never a solid answer beyond the Senator’s already released statement. I will say one thing, though. Having seen the movie “300″, it was no surprise to me that Senator Snowe is of Spartan descent, as she mentioned in her announcement.
So who are the pundits putting out there? For the GOP: 2002 gubernatorial candidate Peter Cianchette, 2010 gubernatorial candidate Steve Abbott, state Treasurer Bruce Poliquin, state Attorney General Bill Schneider, and Jock McKernan, Snowe’s husband and the state’s former governor. Businessman Scott D’Amboise was already challenging Snowe in a primary.
On the Democratic side, Reps. Chellie Pingree (D) and Mike Michaud (D) could run, as well as former congressman Tom Allen (D), who unsuccessfully challenged Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) in 2008.
It’s going to be an interesting couple of weeks, waiting to see who jumps on the campaign bandwagon and who declines the dubious honor of attempting to fill Olympia Snowe’s shoes. After that, we’ll get to watch all the media pundits attempt to guess how folks from Maine think, and how they’ll vote. Somehow I rather doubt it has anything to do with “party”.