A logo on a Max Linn website that was taken down this spring.

Renegade politician Max Linn filed petitions late Friday indicating he is moving forward as an independent candidate in this year’s U.S. Senate race.

Max Linn File photo

The colorful, retired Bar Harbor financial planner could further complicate things for Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, whose bid for a fifth term is being challenged by another independent with roots in the Maine Green Independent Party.

Three Democrats are also vying for the right to challenge the longtime senator, whose reelection is widely considered one of the tightest contests this year as both parties battle across America for enough seats to control the U.S. Senate.

Linn, a 61-year-old unenrolled voter, submitted at least an initial batch of signatures from Maine voters that were mostly gathered early in the year before the coronavirus pandemic that shut down much of the state.

It is not clear how many more he needs, if any, to qualify for a slot on the November general election ballot.

Secretary of State Matt Dunlap said Monday the paperwork had yet to be processed because there is a waiting period before handling submissions to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19.

Linn, who could not be reached Monday, has a checkered political past, including a failed bid to run as a Republican in Maine’s 2018 U.S. Senate race, when independent Angus King easily won a second term against challengers from the GOP and Democratic Party.

Two years ago, touting himself as the best pick for those who support President Donald Trump, Linn sought to force a Republican primary but lost out when some of the signatures he gathered were thrown out. He voted in the primary, but did not cast a ballot in the 2018 general election.

With ranked-choice voting, a Trump-loving independent who might appeal to the GOP base uncertain about Collins may not pose the same threat he would in most elections in most states.

But it is hard to predict what approach Linn will take on the campaign trail if his signatures prove valid and he gains a spot on the ballot.

He has never shown much party loyalty in his political career, so taking on the challenge as an independent is hardly a surprise.

In Florida, Linn ran as the Reform Party’s candidate for governor in 2006, getting the most attention shortly before the election for landing a small plane in the middle of an interstate highway in Orlando after it suffered engine trouble.

The Reform Party began as a vehicle for Texas businessman Ross Perot’s independent presidential campaigns in 1992 and 1996.

In 2008, Linn competed in a three-way Democratic congressional primary in Florida’s 10th District, attracting a quarter of the overall vote but finishing last.

He also wrote a $2,300 check to Barack Obama’s Democratic presidential campaign that year and even wrote a book hailing Obama, though copies of it have proven elusive.

The other independent in the Maine race this year is Lisa Savage, a Solon educator who had sought to run as a Green but found the logistical hurdles impossible so she opted to run as unaffiliated candidate.

One other potential independent contender, Portland lawyer Tiffany Bond, needs more signatures, which are tough to come by with most everyone staying home to avoid possible exposure to the coronavirus.

Three Democrats are competing in a July 14 primary for the change to represent their party against Collins: House Speaker Sara Gideon of Freeport, Saco lawyer Bre Kidman and Hallowell activist Betsy Sweet, a former gubernatorial contender.


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