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Olympia Snowe retiring

Olympia Snowe retiring

Via The Hill:

Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) will not run for reelection.

A top Snowe campaign staffer told The Hill that she will retire at the end of her term and would shortly be releasing a statement announcing her retirement.

The three-term senator was long expected to run for reelection, and had seemed to be gearing up for a run. She has not faced serious opposition in any of her runs for the Senate.

Her retirement means the Senate will lose one of its most centrist Republicans — one who often crossed party lines to work with Democrats, and acted as a bridge between the two parties. It is also a huge boon for Democrats: They had little hope of beating her, but become heavy favorites to win an open seat in the Democratic-leaning state.

So, I don’t follow Maine politics much, who will be the likely Republican(s), Democrat, and what are the prospects of holding the seat?

Update:  h/t reader Charles for this article, Snowe Fall(out):

Senator Snowe’s decision to not seek re-election is nothing short of a political earthquake that fundamentally changes the dynamic of every single federal race in Maine in 2012.  Both Democratic House Members, Chellie Pingree and Mike Michaud, will now be taking a look at a promotion to the Senate.


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Let’s see … Olympia Snowe or a Democrat?

Who cares. What’s the difference.

    It DOES matter because we are fighting an ENTRENCHED and CORRUPT one-party establishment. Any time an entrenched liberal is removed, it is a big step forward. A freshman liberals is much less effective than an entrenched liberal.

the article should have read “one who often crossed party lines to work with Republicans” …

I get the distinct impression that she will not be missed much by any of your Maine readers, Professor.

Good riddance to the RINO!

    listingstarboard in reply to Scorpio51. | February 29, 2012 at 10:59 am

    But but but Olympia has “Spartan Ancestry”!!! According to her egotistical self important press release anyways. What a snob!


The establishment will try to blame this on the Tea Party, but the Tea Party had no intentions to my knowledge of primarying her.

So Snow, typical rino, went along with plenty of liberal nonsense simply for the sake of bipartisanship, (wasn’t her vote responsible for Obamacare getting out of committee or something to that effect? Can’t remember off hand,) bails late in the election cycle and lowers the chance of Obamacare being repealed by turning the seat into at best a toss up.

One final stick in the eye to conservatives. Who expected anything less?

The fight for the seat may be tougher, but good riddance.

    I would argue that Tea Party was an important reason she chose to retire. She cited frustration over hyper-psrtisanship as her reason. That is code for “The House Twenty” who stood the entire government on its head last year despite not having the numbers. The GOP leadership was arguing that they powerless because they were only 1/2 of 1/3rd of the government. “The House Twenty” will probably be expanded this November.

I wonder if Governor LePage would jump into the race.

Good riddance. Even if it costs us (nominally) a seat, sometimes is better to lose the seat than to retain it with an incumbent who spends most of the time knee-capping his own side and providing cover and ammunition to the other team. Graham, McCain, I’m looking at you.

Have I mentioned lately just how much I loathe John McCain?

Yeee-haaaa!!! This is excellent news — for Republicans. Terrible news for the Democrats. Even if her seat is taken over by a Democrat, it will still be someone less Liberal than this creature.

The Democrats will surely miss her “bipartisan vote,” but they still have that other useful tool to rely on, RINO Collins.

MaggotAtBroadAndWall | February 28, 2012 at 6:08 pm

Scott D’Amboise announced a long time ago that he was planning to challenge her. TPM says he’s got about $500K in the bank, which I would imagine is a non-trivial amount for Maine. The Tea Party guy who was also trying to primary her abandoned hid bid to run as a Republican a few days ago. He’s now running as an independent.

“what are the prospects of holding the seat?”

When was that seat ever a Republican seat? Snowe certainly never voted like a Republican. EVER.

    dmacleo in reply to SeanInLI. | February 28, 2012 at 7:52 pm

    years ago…years..I mean eons…she actually was a fighter.
    then she figured out people kiss her ass no matter what so she decided to just show up and go along to get along.
    we’re tired of it up here. the queens are done, even if she didn’t quit she was done. we’re tired of the sigma they have given us, we’re tired of feeling ashamed, and we’re damn tired of their politics.

    stevewhitemd in reply to SeanInLI. | February 28, 2012 at 11:04 pm

    When did she vote Republican? When she voted, the first time in every session, for the Republican leadership.

    And periodically thereafter, though not enough to satisfy the party faithful, including me.

    If a Democrat wins, his/her first vote in 2013 will be for Harry Reid.

    So, I’d rather have Senator Snowe than Senator Democrat.

    JackRussellTerrierist in reply to SeanInLI. | February 29, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    It’s about the majority, not so much the seat. It’s a blue state. They aren’t going to elect a true conservative there. That’s just a fact, a reality similar to the truth that a four-cheese combo pizza is fattening. It just IS. We need the seat in order to get the Maj. Leader position back so we can control the agenda. That’s all it’s about, nothing more. With a TP Indy candidate, the vote will be split and the ‘rats will win it back. I already suspect the Indy candidate is a ‘rat bastard in disguise. They do this over and over again, and uninformed idiot voters make sure it’s a winning strategy for the ‘rats. Why the ‘pubs never attempt this in their own favor is not a mystery. They are too slow and dim-witted to ply the same tactics to the enemy. If somebody were to dig, they’d likely find only a few degrees of separation between the Indy and Harry Reid.

There is need for a manual on the Care and Feeding of the RINO.

Both RINOs and conservatives behave as though the only alternatives are for RINOs to control the GOP, or to be demonized and cast out. Surely there is a middle ground on which RINOs are acknowledged as members of the coalition, but not allowed to run the place.

The Gipper formulated the 11th Commandment for a reason.

    Since1776 in reply to gs. | February 28, 2012 at 7:07 pm

    The problem with implementing something along those lines is that in order to for it to work, the party actually has to stand for something. Right now the gop stands for whatever the media and polls say. Principles and a will to stand for what is right is long forgotten.

    Even if the platform is kept utterly basic:
    No tax increases
    Significant, legitimate spending cuts
    National energy policy free of green failures and fantasy
    Affirmation and re-transition to states rights (Education reform in the shape of vouchers, removing of burdensome EPA regs can fall here)
    Affirmation of individual rights and liberties (i.e. repeal of contraception mandate etc.)
    No voting for liberal judges

    Very basic and simple yes, but something you would think the gop could easily adopt. But if it would get the media up in arms or possibly, maybe turn a poll the wrong way for a day, the current gop will run and hide.

    But if a simple platform was adopted, then rinos and conservatives could at least co-exist because the R next to their name would actually mean something.

people at hot air all wound up and blaming TP.
she was going to lose, we (I am in maine) did not want her or collins anymore.

he was going to have a chance, now it looks even better.

As much as I would love to see her replaced by a tea party member, this is Maine. This seat going blue is very bad for over turning Obamacare. So what is the real reason she is dropping out?

    dmacleo in reply to EBL. | February 28, 2012 at 7:36 pm

    because she was going to lose to another conservative.
    remember we went red in 2010.

      JackRussellTerrierist in reply to dmacleo. | February 29, 2012 at 1:11 pm

      Not red enough and look at waffling Wisconsin that also ostensibly “went red” in ’10.

      I’ll believe it when I see it and the GOP grow the huevos to hang onto power for awhile without stepping on their stuppers.

Part of the problem for a Republican primary challenge to Snowe this year was the fact that Governor LePage was supporting Snowe no matter what. They have a personal relationship that goes back to his childhood.

This eliminates that problem and allows a more conservative Republican to run.

I don’t think Maine is anywhere near as blue as the article the professor quotes would indicate. Republicans currently have majorities in both the House and Senate in ME, as well as Governor. For US Congress, ME has 2 D’s, for US Senate 2 R’s.

Most analysts rate Maine ‘Leans D’ (probably based on how they vote for President), but it seems like more of a toss up to me for this Senate race.

It will all depend on the candidates…

    Jack Long in reply to Aarradin. | February 29, 2012 at 1:24 am

    LePage was homeless (or close to it) at a young age.

    The Snowe family supported his schooling at some point in his teen years, I believe.

    I didn’t grow up in Maine, but I did spend a lot of time there as a kid. I know that adult Mainers would regularly “help out a ‘bit” with disadvantaged youth. They didn’t make a big deal about it, either.

    From LePage’s point of view the Snowe family were there we he needed somebody. That tie runs much deeper than politics.

    The Snowe/LePage connection has much to do with philanthropy and gratitude and nothing to do with quid pro quo, AFAIC.

What a complete mediocrity. Dumb to boot. She served three terms?

    dmacleo in reply to raven. | February 28, 2012 at 7:49 pm

    had house too, and we had her husband for gov for a bit.
    been involved for 30 yrs or so between state and fed.
    the dodd-frank-snowe bill…..nice…

I live in Wisconsin but my ancestors were from Waterville and Augusta, Maine. I love Maine!

Snowe’s retirement is a symptom of the reddening of New England. Massachusetts is bleeding into New Hampshire which is bleeding, in turn, into Maine. Soon Maine and New Hampshire will bleed into Massachusetts.

But Connecticut…I used to live there, too, for 6 years, but Connecticut (and Vermont?) seems to be a lost cause.

    dmacleo in reply to nomadic100. | February 28, 2012 at 7:54 pm

    many of us are now fighting against the MA infusions.
    you see that in portland area, in the real woods we are fighting back finally.

      micmac0352 in reply to dmacleo. | February 28, 2012 at 9:47 pm

      I’m a western Mainer in exile and I’m glad to hear that the folks back home are putting up a fight. What concerns me is that the 1stCD is so overwhelmingly liberal that unless the 2ndCD becomes as equally conservative, the Senate seat goes to the bad guys in 2012.

        dmacleo in reply to micmac0352. | February 29, 2012 at 7:28 am

        I feel we have turned the corner there, way too many are pissed at stuff they have tried down south like letting illegals vote, etc.

    Aarradin in reply to nomadic100. | February 29, 2012 at 1:06 pm

    I love the term NH residents have for liberal MA expats that have moved to NH to escape MA taxes:


Maybe Steven King can conjure up Greg Stillson to run for the open Senate seat now.

I have to agree. Not a very smart senator.

    Anchovy in reply to PhillyGuy. | February 28, 2012 at 8:29 pm

    As a guy with houses in both Washington state (Patty Murray, Maria Cantwell) and Arizona (John McCain), I will see your dumb senator and raise you three.

      Henry Hawkins in reply to Anchovy. | February 29, 2012 at 9:24 am

      Ouch, lol.

      JackRussellTerrierist in reply to Anchovy. | February 29, 2012 at 1:38 pm

      HA! I got you beat! I just left CA after spending the entire 57 years of my life there. My royal FLUSH of Barbara “Dumber than a box of rocks” Boxer, Diane “Gungrabber” Feinstein, Jerry “Moonbeam” Brown, Maxine “Black Power” Waters and Pete “Stark, raving, mad lunatic” Stark makes your three-of-a-kind child’s play by comparison. 🙂

NC Mountain Girl | February 28, 2012 at 8:08 pm

Interesting. It came as a surprise to both her staff and the state GOP establishment. It is also very close to the filing deadlines.

Sorry folks, she’s about as ‘Red’ as it gets in New England/Northeast. From (9) states (ME,VT,NH,NH,MA,CT,RI,NY,NJ); all we can show is: Snowe, Collins, Scott Brown, Kelly Ayotte(NH)…

Big advantage to the Lib Dems, not to mention the ‘pubs up there will vote for Romney in the primaries. All states Obama will probably carry. (except NH)

Link to 2012 Maine election slate:

I grew up in New England (born and raised in NH and MA) and even attended a year of high school in Maine. That was a long time ago and times change but I just can’t believe Maine being all that liberal.

Neighboring NH went liberal only because of the MA people who moved into the border cities like Nashua, Salem, Derry etc… Those liberal MA voters completely swamped the NH natives and the conservatives living north of Manchester. I am not aware of this happening in Maine so I can’t understand why it would have shifted so far left over the years.

    micmac0352 in reply to Pasadena Phil. | February 28, 2012 at 9:57 pm

    Coastal Maine with the exception of Washington County tends to be dominated by liberals, add to that the liberal dominated 1st Congressional District, the former industrial / union towns along the scroggin/ kennebec /Penobscot, and the areas along the Canadian border and you have a center left mix that is hard to conquer in a statewide race.

Here in Utah, Orrin Hatch has basically been campaigning on the sole issue of chairmanship of the Senate Finance Committee. If the Republicans win and he’s reelected, he gets the job; if they win and he isn’t, Snowe does.

Or did. Hatch pretty much just lost his sole excuse as to why we should reelect him. (Not that it was a very good one to begin with…)

Subotai Bahadur | February 29, 2012 at 1:58 am

Snowe could only be expected to vote with the Republican caucus under one of two conditions. Either it was the organizing vote at the beginning of the session, or it was a vote that the Republicans were sure to win anyway. The rest of the time she took her cues from the Democratic leadership. Any vote by her with the Republican caucus was an unexpected surprise.

We need to pick up 4 seats to get a majority. Given the number of seats the Democrats are defending, and the shaky nature of their hold on many of those seats; I think it is still well within reach. We never were going to get either 60 or 66 votes. And so we are not in a drastically worse position. And even if she had stayed and won, and we got a majority, we would have to make allowances for her regular defections to the Democrats anyway.

If the Republicans hold the seat, it will hopefully be someone who will vote with the Republicans some of the time. If it is another DIABLO, nothing is lost. If a Democrat takes the seat, it will have no real effect on
Senate votes, other than the organizing vote at the beginning, and if we fail to achieve a net gain of those 4 seats, the country is pretty much lost anyway; assuming a Romney nomination and the subsequent loss, and keeping the same leadership in the House.

Subotai Bahadur

One less RINO. Good riddance. Maybe a good TP person will step up to the plate.

Snowe voted to let Obamacare come to the floor for a vote. Bye Bye, RINO.
Look at all of the dems and RINOs who fell on their swords to pass Obamacare.

This kind of inanity comes out any time a “centrist” retires. Nobody loves these people but there is also an irrational belief that the Tea Party ethos is a natural majority in every corner of the country and if only we ran Tea Party candidates in every race, we’d win. That is false.

Gov. LePage won his election with only 38% of the vote. That is hardly a resounding win, and shows that while Maine turned to the right in 2010, it wasn’t quite as hard a turn as some have made it out to be. Maine is unlikely to elect a “true conservative” to the Senate any time soon – certainly not in a presidential year that will be somewhat less advantageous to the GOP than 2010.

Snowe was mediocre. Maybe she could have moved a little further to her right, but not much. She was a pretty fair example of the “Buckley Rule” – vote for the most conservative candidate who can win.

And for those who think there is no difference between Olympia Snowe and, say, Michael Michaud, I’ll tell you the difference – it’s the difference between Harry Reid deciding what gets a Senate vote and Mitch McConnell making that decision. It’s the difference between having Jeff Sessions lead a Budget Committee that will actually pass a budget and having Patty Murray continue the tradition of Democrats not passing a budget at all (Murray is likely to take over as leading Democrat on the committee next year with Kent Conrad’s retirement). Snowe may be mostly off the reservation, but she always votes to organize the Senate under Republican leadership, which means she’s going to vote to put conservatives in charge. I doubt Michaud would do the same.

Nationally, most of the coverage of Snowe’s decision to drop her reelection bid has focused on the centrist Republican’s frustration with the polarized politics on Capitol Hill. But in Maine, a few newspapers have speculated that her husband’s legal entanglements had a role in Snowe’s sudden and surprising decision, which left her with more than $3 million in her campaign coffers and her party without a Senate candidate less than three weeks before the filing deadline for Maine’s June 12 primary.

According to the senator’s most recent financial disclosure form, she and her husband, former Maine Gov. John McKernan Jr., have investments worth between $2 million and $10 million in Education Management Corp., a Pittsburgh-based company that operates for-profit higher education institutions. McKernan is chairman of the board of directors of the company, now embroiled in a lawsuit in which the federal goverment, 11 states and the District of Columbia are seeking to recover a portion of the $11 billion in federal student aid that the education firm has received since July 2003.