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Democrat running for open Maine Senate seat getting little attention

July 19, 2012|By Lisa Mascaro
  • Cynthia Dill claims victory in the race for the Democratic nomination to run for the U.S. Senate, at a Democratic "Victory Party" at Bayside Bowl in Portland, Maine.
Cynthia Dill claims victory in the race for the Democratic nomination to… (Christopher Cousins / AP…)

WASHINGTON -- The Democrat running for the open Senate seat in Maine has finally gotten some attention from her party’s leadership in Washington after complaining that they have been snubbing her in favor of the leader in the race, independent candidate Angus King.

She didn’t get a lot of attention, mind you.

State Sen. Cynthia Dill had a brief phone conversation Thursday with Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), the chairman of the Democratic Senate campaign committee.

No endorsement from the national party.

No pledge of support.

But a “cordial” conversation, and a commitment that the national committee would “continue to monitor the race.”

The race to replace retiring Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe is a three-way contest among King, a popular former two-term governor, Dill, and GOP candidate Charlie Summers, the Maine secretary of State.

King has not said which party he would caucus with if he were to win in November, drawing criticism from the other two candidates, who say he is not being clear about his political priorities. Summers and Dill are trying to portray King as beholden to the other party.

But in Washington, Democratic strategists are hopeful that King would choose their side and have not wanted to alienate a man with a wide lead in polls.

King said he has not spoken to leaders from either party about his choice in November. The Portland Press reported that King was in the capital earlier this week for a fundraiser.

Dill, who has said the silence from Washington Democrats toward her campaign is “deafening,” reached out directly to Murray on Thursday.

“With an open U.S. Senate seat at stake in Maine, we trust Democrats in Washington will act to preserve its ‘true blue’ majority by endorsing the candidate with the greatest respect for the Democratic Party and its platform,” Dill wrote in a letter requesting a meeting.

With that there was a phone call -- though not much more.

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Lisa.Mascaro@latimes.com

Twitter: @LisaMascaroinDC

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