BRUNSWICK — Former Gov. Angus King said Wednesday he's considering running for the U.S. Senate, filling a void left by Republican U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe, who announced Tuesday she's not running for re-election in November.
"Yes, I'm considering it,” King said. “I haven't decided. I'm talking to people, fielding emails and calls, giving it serious consideration, because the very reason why Olympia left office is why I think we need a different approach.”
Snowe, who is a Republican moderate, said she's leaving office because she's weary of the polarization in Congress, and finds "it frustrating . . . that an atmosphere of polarization and 'my way or the highway' has become pervasive in campaigns and in our governing institutions.”
King said he'd try to build a nonpartisan approach in the Senate, an atmosphere of “let's solve the problems and quit yelling at each other. I think the public wants the schools fixed, Medicare fixed,” King said. “I don't think they care about the label of the person trying to fix them.”
Snowe's abrupt departure will make it hard for Democrats and Republicans to collect signatures by the March 15 deadline to get on the ballot.
Not so much for King. As an independent, he has until June to collect 4,000 signatures to get on November's ballot. “It's one of the only times in world history that the rules” benefit an independent, King said.
King cautioned that his mind is not made up. “It is not an easy decision. It's a huge commitment, and not one I was contemplating. I'm just trying to understand the consequences.” But he said he thinks more reasoned voices in Washington could help.
The “broken nature of our political system is a serious problem,” King said. “It's driving me to consider it.”
King was popular governor who enjoyed high ratings.
Peter Mills, a former Republican gubernatorial candidate who now heads the Maine Turnpike Authority, said one big challenge "for both of the parties is to nominate someone who can beat Angus King."
"His name recognition is strong," Mills said. "On the other hand, both national parties will be committing huge sums to capture the seat."