King's independent bent roils Maine Senate race

By Andrew Miga

Associated Press

Published: Saturday, Oct. 6 2012 12:00 a.m. MDT

Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Charlie Summers, center, chats with his wife, Ruth, during a campaign stop at a Gritty McDuff's pub, Thursday, Oct. 4, 2012, in Portland, Maine.

Robert F. Bukaty, Associated Press

BATH, Maine — Maine's Angus King is the rare third-party Senate candidate with a real shot at winning — and that's vexing Republicans and Democrats fighting for control of the chamber.

King is a former Democrat and governor who's running as an independent for Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe's seat. It's assumed that King would caucus with Democrats if he won. But he's not promising that to party bigwigs or anyone else. Republicans must gain four seats to win control of the Senate.

So the GOP wants to hang onto the Maine seat. They're pumping big money into the race to shrink King's lead over their candidate, Charlie Summers. Democrats, meanwhile, are spending cash to attack Summers. But there's also a Democrat in the race, state Sen. Cynthia Dill, who's lagging behind both.

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