Former Maine Gov. Angus King, the top-tier independent candidate in the Maine Senate race, has picked a team in at least one respect: He supports President Obama for re-election.
The Associated Press reports:
King said Friday that he believes that Obama should be re-elected after “seeing the likely alternatives.” But the former Democrat hastened to point out that he’s supported Republicans, including George W. Bush in 2000. He said, “I call ‘em as I see ‘em.”
King also dismissed Republican accusations that he made a secret deal with Democrats in Washington or had agreed to caucus with them, in exchange for Rep. Chellie Pingree not running. King said that he would make his decision on caucusing based on “what makes me the most effective senator for Maine.”
For her part, Pingree announced this week that she would not run, saying openly that she worried that she and King might have split the non-Republican vote.
Given his background, it is widely assumed that King might be more friendly to Senate Democrats than Republicans. After earlier career stints in alternative energy, and as host of a statewide talk show on Maine public television, he was elected governor in 1994 as an independent, and then easily re-elected in 1998. During his time in office, he focused heavily on such traditionally liberal issues as education and the environment.
However, he also supported George W. Bush in the 2000 presidential election. But then in 2004 he endorsed John Kerry instead, and in 2008 he endorsed Barack Obama.
If elected, King would replace Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe, who surprised everyone last week when she announced her retirement after three terms.