WASHINGTON -- Independent candidate Angus King was elected in the U.S. Senate race, as Mainers favored the popular former governor over the Democratic and Republican candidates.
With both parties vying for control of the Senate, King could hold the balance of power when senators cast the all-important first votes of the session to establish the majority. King, who was projected to win by CNN and the Associated Press, has declined to say which party he would join, though many believe he will side with Democrats -- at least for that vote.
Though out of office for a decade, King emerged as the early favorite to replace retiring Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe -- a moderate who cited the polarized atmosphere in Congress in calling it quits. King said Snowe’s reasons for stepping down motivated him to run to fix Washington by trying to instill a spirit of nonpartisan compromise.
Republican Secretary of State Charlie Summers, a Navy reservist, and Democratic state Sen. Cynthia Dill, a liberal-leaning civil rights attorney, struggled to gain ground in the race. Still, the partisans engaged in a robust effort -- against each other, and King -- as outside money poured into Maine.