LEWISTON — Just as the campaigns of those hoping to replace her in the U.S. Senate are heating up, Republican Olympia Snowe is launching a new effort to support moderates in American politics.
On Tuesday, Snowe announced the creation of Olympia's List, a political action committee aimed at electing candidates who follow the principles of consensus building.
“A more divided electorate has resulted in our government becoming more polarized and thereby failing to do the people’s business," Snowe said in a statement announcing the new PAC. "Americans must demand results from government — which will apply the political pressure necessary to motivate our elected representatives to step up and come together to resolve the challenges facing our country.”
The purpose of the new site, according to her first blog post is, " to provide a gathering point for all of us who believe our elected officials need to put the country ahead of politics and to facilitate the distribution of news about activities taking place to further that goal. "
The list so far includes 18 members of the U.S. Senate, including fellow Mainer and Republican Susan Collins. The list includes a mix of Democratic and Republican lawmakers and members of the U.S. House deemed closest to the "ideological center." Missing from that list are Maine's two Democratic U.S. House members, Rep. Mike Michaud and Rep. Chellie Pingree.
The announcement notes Snowe intends to build public support over the next five weeks for "urging the Congress to work in a bipartisan way to reach agreement during the post-election lame duck session to avoid the looming fiscal cliff."
The effort comes during the final weeks of the U.S. Senate race where five candidates, including independent and former Maine Gov. Angus King, Republican Maine Secretary of State Charlie Summers and state Sen. Cynthia Dill, a Cape Elizabeth Democrat, are squaring off in an effort to win Snowe's seat.
Snowe's staff in Washington said Wednesday that she has said she supports all the Republican candidates seeking federal office in Maine and intends to be involved in some campaign activities to help them. But so far, Snowe has refrained from any public endorsements of any of those seeking to replace her in Washington.
"The senator believes that's a decision for the people of Maine to make," said Chris Averill, her communications director in Washington.