King makes U.S. Senate run official

BRUNSWICK — Nearly a decade after declaring he wasn't likely to again pursue elected office, former Gov. Angus King announced Monday night that he will make a run at the U.S. Senate. 

Angus King
Joel Page

Former Gov. Angus King speaks Monday, March 5, 2012 at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine. King announced plans to run as an independent for the seat being vacated by Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine. King said the Senate needs an independent voice that's not beholden to Republicans or Democrats. (AP Photo/Joel Page)

Steve Mistler/Sun Journal

Former Gov. Angus King hugs his wife, Mary, following his announcement at Bowdoin College on Monday night that he is entering the U.S. Senate race.

King, 67, made his announcement to an overflow crowd during his lecture to Bowdoin College students about the Cuban Missile Crisis. If there were any metaphors that could be derived from that Cold War-era standoff and a highly anticipated political decision it was this: The country, King said, was in trouble.

It would take informed — indepenent — decision making to lead the country out of its malaise. 

King said a paralyzed political system that forced out U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, showed that it was time to make a change. King, who will run as an independent, said he could make a difference.

"The best they (Washington) could do was to force an extraordinary woman (Snowe) out of town," said King, adding that Snowe's decision last week to abandon her re-election bid had prompted him to enter the race.

Snowe last week decried the disappearance of the "sensible center" from Beltway politics. The veteran pol said she left because she no longer saw a way to get anything accomplished.

King acknowledged the same partisan obstacles, saying they had led to the "paralysis of our political system." However, in a rhetorical turn similar to those he often deployed in securing two terms as governor, King said the only way to break to partisan divide may be to send an independent. 

"I can be a broker for common sense," he said. 

He added, "I just might scare them. Maine would be sending a message . . . if they don't get their act together they'll be sending more people like me."

King offered few details on his policy platform. The private wind developer said the country needed to change an energy infrastructure that was built on the promise of cheap oil. Those days, he said, are over. 

He vaguely reference a broken education system and unaffordable health care. 

King has some time to develop his platform. He has until June 1 to submit 4,000 signatures to get on the November ballot.

King's entrance in the race will have a profound effect on the dynamic of the upcoming race, which was thrown into chaos following last week's announcement by Snowe that she would not seek re-election.

Since then, the field of potential candidates has been flooded with those seeking to fill the void. King told the Sun Journal last week that he was weighing a run.

King will also change the political calculus of the candidates in the field, especially for Democrats. U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, has already begun gathering signatures for the race, as has former Democratic Gov. John Baldacci. Former Democratic Secretary of State Matt Dunlap is also in the race. 

Pingree is considered by many to be the favorite among Democrats. However, some pundits believe her chances of winning the general election could be compromised by King. 

King, who is popular with independents and center-left Democrats, could conceivably siphon votes from Pingree, thus recreating the scenario that played out during the 2010 gubernatorial election when Republican Paul LePage won with 38 percent of the vote while independent Eliot Cutler and Democrat Libby Mitchell split the Democratic-independent vote.

Public Policy Polling, a national polling firm, is expected to release an early poll of the Senate race. On Monday, PPP released selected excerpts of the results via Twitter.

The excerpts did not include margin of error or any other metric that would be used to determine the survey's efficacy. However, in a race against Pingree and Republican Charlie Summers, King pulled votes from both candidates, 35 percent from Democrats, 25 percent from Republicans. King also won among the state's largest voting block, independents, collecting 53 percent. 

The survey showed King's favorable/unfavorable rating of 62 percent to 24 percent.

It's unclear if Pingree would continue her Senate bid given that she would effectively be abandoning a safer re-election bid in the 1st Congressional District for a less certain Senate bid. In addition, Pingree could encounter pressure to stay where she is from national Democrats who believe they have a good chance at taking back the U.S. House of Representatives in 2012.

Summers, Treasurer Bruce Poliquin, former state Senate President Rick Bennett and Attorney General William Schneider are among the Republicans considering a Senate run.

King's popularity has prompted some pundits to peg him as the early front-runner. However, his opponents are expected to closely examine King's two-term record as governor for flaws.

King presided over a time of economic prosperity, the result of a national financial boom. He is best known for introducing the school laptop program, infrastructure investment. The latter was the source of some controversy because King in 1999 raised the state gas tax by 3 percent amid record revenues and a surplus.

King, who is known as socially liberal, also championed a gay rights law that was eventually overturned by citizens veto. 

His critics often accused him of squandering his political capital and enormous popularity by staying removed from contentious issues. 

Nonetheless, the former governor left office mostly preserving the goodwill of voters. His endorsements were highly sought by politicians. In 2010 he broke from tradition by endorsing independent candidate for governor Eliot Cutler.

Cutler, who had flirted with the idea of joining the senate race, on Monday returned the favor, endorsing King's senate run.

King in 2010 also backed Pingree's re-election bid for the 1st Congressional District.

Asked Monday if he and Pingree had spoken since Snowe decided to bow out, King said, "Only to tell her that I was running."

King wrapped up his speech on Monday by paraphrasing former Bowdoin College professor and Civil War general Joshua Chamberlain.

"You don't equivocate, don't deny, you charge ahead," King said. "That's exactly what I intend to do."

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 's picture

due process

There was no notification nor public hearing permitted for those like my wife and I due to the expedited permitting law. The project owners and Maine DEP have engaged in ex parte communications since well before knowledge of the project was made public. Only in Maine can a Governor (Angus King) use one’s office to enrich one self and it be considered lawful. Unbelievable!!!!!!!

JOANNE MOORE's picture

King promoting himself........ the "sensible center" is like me promoting myself as Cleopatra.

And, as old Cleo used to say, De Nial is not just a river in Egypt.

Pompous, arrogant, lying, self-serving neo-liberal in the same mold as Clinton without the hormones.

A detestable and thoroughly unlikeable Virginian who is convinced Mainers are stupid. He is destroying thousands of acres of Maine and convincing people like Jason that wind power is "green". The only green is the green lining his pockets.

This man does not deserve to represent Maine.

 's picture

King never found rural Maine

King has always used government office and influence for his own personal profit. He has done nothing for but much to rural Maine. His defeat make Maine stronger.

Jason Theriault's picture

Wow, thats pretty strong

Wow, thats pretty strong accusation. Why would you say he has "always used government office and influence for his own personal profit"?

GARY SAVARD's picture

I voted for Angus King when

I voted for Angus King when he ran for Governor on both occasions, simply because I felt he was the better of the choices we had. Since his money grab over wind power, however, I will never vote for that man again even if he were running for dog catcher of Whoville, unopposed. If he can sell Mainers a boatload of crap regarding wind power with a straight face, what will he try to sell us in an effort to get elected to the U.S. Senate?

Mike Lachance's picture

If he stops Pingree from

If he stops Pingree from running he should recieve much praise and accolades. Whether i'd vote for him is another question I have yet to decide...

 's picture

While I don't disagree that a

While I don't disagree that a lot of conservative Republicans are very quick to ravage anyone who doesn't fall in line perfectly with their ideas (Snowe and Collins are treated so so terribly by Republicans.. I hope if Maine Republicans end up with King or even worse for them, Pingree or Baldacci, they take a step back and think about that), just look at the facts.. King is pretty liberal.. probably even more liberal than Snowe is conservative.

 's picture

I would rather have

a liberal who runs as a liberal win this seat than a liberal who runs as a moderate or conservative. Voters really do deserve the government the majority (or plurality in a race with more than 2 candidates) votes for. I can only opine with facts, and leave the emotions out of it.

King's record in Maine is quite clear:

1. He likes taxes.
2. He likes to spend.
3. He likes to borrow.
4. He created at least one agency that borrows without voter approval.
5. He likes public lands at the expense of private business.
6. He does a great job of influencing voters.
7. He gives a very entertaining speech. I've heard one speech, about Gettysburg, three times. Very informative.

So, if that's what you want representing Maine in Washington, vote for King. By all means.

 's picture

Okay Dan. Sorry I'm such an

Okay Dan. Sorry I'm such an unreasonable conservative.. anyway, my friends Bill, Sean, Megyn, Steve, and Bret are waiting to buy me a drink.. gotta go!

 's picture

Gov. King doesn't have a

Gov. King doesn't have a flawless record, but there are three reasons I consider very, very important that are almost certain to lead me to voting for him come November:

1. He may be a liberal, but he is a mild-mannered man and that is reflected by his status as an independent as well as his rhetoric. He is not a divisive person, and that, to me, is much more important than what way he leans (although full disclosure, I am more liberal than not). His language is uniting, not dividing. His manner will not contribute to the further division of this country. I have voted for both Senators Collins and Snowe in the past precisely for this reason and would have voted for Senator Snowe again if she was in the race. Senator Snowe left the race because of how divisive Washington is at the precise time we need her the most. Luckily we may have another similar-minded person.

2. I just like the power and attention he brings to the state simply by being an independent. Senators Snowe and Collins are two of the most important senators in the country because they are he is much less likely to give in to having to "take one for the team" as Senator Santorum would say. They weren't "in the tank" for their own party and that is important for me. While I don't know the Republican candidates (I will take a look at whoever the nominee ends up being), my guess is they would in fact be. Congresswoman Pingree or Governor Baldacci certainly would be.

3. It also is a prime time to simply SEND A MESSAGE to Washington. This is not an acceptable way to do govern this country. Things need to change.

Mike Lachance's picture

The only thing King has going

The only thing King has going for him is his "Independent" label, which is what Snowe and Collins have been lying about, pretending to be Republican, or Conservative, or what not. King is at least honest enough to admit he isnt a Republican and insnt neccesarily conservative... Is he a liberal Democrat? perhaps not, but he deserves credit for his choice of "label"...

Still not sure i'd vote for him....

 's picture

KIng is a Big Spending Liberal

He presided over the largest expansion of Maine government ever. I'll pass on him this time. I supported him in his first run, but he really disappointed me.

William Burke's picture


He about ruined the state as govenor we don,t need him in Washington

 's picture

What has King ever done for rural Maine

King see government as a series of programs that he can exploit to make himself rich.

 's picture

King will not protect Maine

Angus King thinks that GRID scale Industrial WIND is good for Maine's ice age eco-systems on our mountain tops.
Angus King set himself up in the name of "GREEN" He should recuse himself from all public office.

Mainers, do you really want to see thousands and thousands of Turbines?

As far as the eye can see?

Jason Theriault's picture

Mainers, do you really want to see thousands and thousands of Tu

Mainers, do you really want to see thousands and thousands of Turbines?

Short answer: yes
Long Answer: Yes, and so do 90% of Mainers.

GARY SAVARD's picture

Best joke of the day, Jason!

Best joke of the day, Jason!

 's picture

you live in Auburn

ah Auburn is flat and has no NIMBY problems. If the southern half of Maine took some real hikes and looked around they would change their minds about WIND.
If every resident in Maine hooked up with an on-site solar system then real GREEN is happening.
On site systems would save you money and the earth.

I read solar flares are going to mess with the GRID. Good luck Jason.

And Angus King does not care about you.

Jason Theriault's picture

He doesn't care about me??


Solar flares can mess with the power grid, but they have to be of a relatively large nature, and at that point, computers and satellites would also be in trouble. Just think back a few years to the flare that caused Auroas almost to the mid-west in the mid 2000's(I think it was 2004). I believe that was one of the largest flares ever recorded, and it didn't affect the grid at all.

On site solar? That's not green. The batteries you need to store that power negates any environmental gains. PV only makes sense if you put them where they will be most efficient, just like with Wind Turbines. Save the environment is a sum game. The wind turbines up on the mountains are far better than coal plans down south, and the more clean power we can generate, the better.

Besides, it seems to be one of the only growth industries in Maine. unless you show me proof that it is causing major harm to the environment, I'm all for it.

 's picture


Trojan batteries are still storing power 50 years later.
I have lived off the GRID 12 years and counting. I do not use my generator any more.

You want Government take care of you. Good Luck Jason.

This has been great for jobs, laugh out loud,,, in Sheffield, from a 60 million dollar project, we got 3 part time jobs... and we lost 60 when a private school closed next to the wind project because of the noise.., what a waste of taxpayers money.

School is less than a mile from turbines,,, The school paid a million dollars a year in salaries and another million
in goods and services to the community,,, oh, and 50,000 a year in taxes. They were part of the fight against the towers and paid legal fees to oppose before the PSB... this is just one business...

Jason Theriault's picture

Few thigns

One - Source on the school closing. I did a google search, and I couldn't find it. Not saying that means anything, but I don't have enough details to find out the story behind the school.

Two - While I do think living off the grid is cool, it's just not feasible for most people. You need exposure to the sun, land for the equipment, and alot of hardware. For most of the populace, you will need industrial power generation. That means Coal, Nuclear, NG and Hydro. We will always need on demand power sources like these. But the point of wind power is lessen the demand on Coal, Nuclear and NG as much as possible.

 's picture


tell me. If you mandate 2700 MW of WIND power; how many turbines will it take?

Are we talking "nameplate" or actual production?

WIND is a SCAM!!!!!!

Is Angus blind??????

Are u blind?

Mike Lachance's picture

Wow.. I like you Alice. ;)

Wow.. I like you Alice. ;)

GARY SAVARD's picture

Career political hacks from

Career political hacks from all sides are flocking to this soon to be open U.S. Senate seat like crows to a fresh March road kill. The plot thickens by the hour. It would be nice if C. Pingree runs for the Senate seat because that would be an easy way to send her packing.


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