Former Maine Gov. John Baldacci announced this morning that he would not run for Senate, becoming the third serious Democratic candidate to drop out of the race to replace Sen. Olympia Snowe (R).
"For me, politics has always been about the people you represent, the people you meet and talk to, the folks who need your help and put their trust in you, who are convinced that you can make things better. I’ve always tried to put their interests ahead of my own. This is not the right time for me personally," Baldacci said in a statement, according to Portland television affiliate WMTW.
It is yet one more turn in a race that has proven to be one of the most bizarre this cycle.
Partisan candidates have until Thursday to finish gathering the 2,000 signatures needed to file with the secretary of state's office.
At this point, the only Democrat with any sort of viable chance is former Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap. Another Democrat who will likely have enough signatures is state Sen. Cynthia Dill.
Dill has found a strange ally in the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which has been touting her candidacy in news releases and on Twitter. The GOP support is quite obviously a ploy to put the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which has gone to great lengths to tout how important women candidates are this cycle, in an awkward position.
Republicans mulling the open-seat contest are Maine Secretary of State Charlie Summers, state Treasurer Bruce Poliquin, state Attorney General William Schneider and former state Senate President Rick Bennett. According to a knowledgeable source, the NRSC in recent days has sent staffers and out-of-state volunteers to help GOP candidates gather signatures for their petitions.
Roll Call rates this race as a Tossup.