Sen.-elect Angus King said Tuesday that he could announce a decision on which caucus to join in time for Wednesday’s party leadership elections.
The Maine independent said he would try to make a decision before the leadership teams are finalized on Wednesday. He told reporters Tuesday morning that he would “probably have some comment for you sometime tomorrow.”
While King is widely expected to caucus with the Democratic majority, he still has not ruled out joining the GOP. “Whichever decision I make, I am not declaring opposition or inability to work with or unwillingness to work with the members of the other party,” he said.
“The important thing is that whichever decision I make ... I don’t consider that building a wall between myself and the other party. When I was governor as an independent, I worked with both parties,” King said. “During one six-week period, I had both parties picketing my office. I thought maybe I had it about right.”
King made the comments following a meeting with Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, in her Capitol Hill office. King and Collins, a fellow moderate, discussed committee assignments and other issues, but neither provided many details of their conversation.
“I think from a fiscal perspective that he has a lot in common with the priorities of the Republican party,” Collins said. “So, I certainly hope that he will make a decision to join our caucus. But regardless I’m positive that he will not be an automatic vote for either caucus and instead will look at the issues on their merits and will attempt to reach across the aisle regardless of which side of the aisle he’s sitting on.”
One of the few GOP centrists still in the Senate, Collins herself has split from her party on a number of issues, including debates on social policy. She advocated repeal of the Defense Department’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy regarding openly gay service members and was one of a few Republicans to vote in favor of President Barack Obama’s 2009 economic stimulus measure.
King will replace retiring Sen. Olympia J. Snowe, another moderate Republican.