Former Maine Gov. Angus King (I) will throw his hat into the race to succeed retiring Sen. OIympia Snowe (R), according to local reports. He will make the announcement tonight at Bowdoin College.
The Portland Press Herald and Boston Globe are reporting that King will run as an Independent, a factor that will make the normal political calculus difficult to determine. King was originally a Democrat, but he served as an Independent governor in the 1990s and early 2000s. In an interview last week with Roll Call, King declined to indicate which party he would caucus with if elected as an Independent.
Among the Democrats weighing Senate bids are Rep. Chellie Pingree and ex-Gov. John Baldacci. Republicans mulling the open-seat contest are Maine Secretary of State Charlie Summers, state Treasurer Bruce Poliquin and Attorney General William Schneider. Eliot Cutler, a former Independent gubernatorial candidate, said today he won't run for Senate and threw his support behind King, according to the Associated Press.
King's unique brand in the state is not one to be discounted in this race, even though Senate and gubernatorial races are different beasts.
He was a popular governor during his tenure in office, reaching approval ratings as high as 86 percent. In his 1998 re-election race, he won with 59 percent of the vote. A candidate unaffiliated with a major party will have until June 12 to gather 4,000 signatures to qualify for the general election ballot.
Roll Call Politics rates this race as Tossup.
Correction: March 5, 2012
The original version of this post incorrectly stated Angus King's 1998 winning percentage.