Olympia Snowe (R-ME), one of the nation’s apparently dwindling supply of elected moderate Republicans, has decided to hang up her legislative spikes, a move that came as a surprise to both parties and which is widely seen as an golden opportunity for the Democrats to take a seat away from the Republicans this November.
Snowe expressed her dismay at the extreme partisanship that has been in force on Capitol Hill in recent years, and said she was frustrating her desire to produce results.
According to Associated Press, Snowe expressed frustration with her own party when it effectively chased former Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania over to the Democratic Party. She said that her party was creating “the smallest political tent in history.”
The other from Maine, Susan Collins (R-ME) is also seen as one of the Republican Party’s few remaining moderate voices.
According to reports, Snowe was not facing a serious primary challenger, nor was she expected to have any difficulty in November.
However, that all changes with an open seat. Two Democratic members of Congress, Mike Michaud and Chellie Pingree, are already being mentioned as possible contenders.
RBR-TVBR observation: We often heard Snowe’s name mentioned as the possible Republican leader in the Senate Commerce Committee when Kay Bailey Hutchison retires at the end of this Congress. Now both senators will be on the sidelines, opening up an opportunity for somebody on the Republican side of the committee.