Angus King(maker)

Weigel
Reporting on Politics and Policy.
June 14 2012 11:57 AM

Angus King(maker)

Former Maine Governor Angus King, an independent, looks formidable in his bid for retiring Republican Senator Olympia Snowe's old seat in the world's most deliberative body. He's yet to decide which party he'll caucus with should he win in November -- Republicans seem pretty confident that the Obama '08 voter will go Democratic, though he also voted for George W. Bush -- but in an interview just now, he suggested it would have a lot to do with landing a plum committee spot and having as much influence as possible.

"I haven't discussed it with anybody in Washington," he said. "I haven't talked with any of the leadership or staff of either party or anybody in Congress, and i haven't made up my mind. If I have 'em throroughly confused, I'm probably [being] successful."

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Democrats have a 53 to 47 majority in the Senate at the moment, but will struggle to hold on to seats in red states like Nebraska and North Dakota, where their incumbent Senators are retiring. Losing just one more seat -- like Claire McCaskill's in Missouri -- would put Dems in a bind. Will King come to their rescue?

"I'm gonna make that decision when I get down there," he said.

He sounded an awful lot like a Democrat, ripping the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision and opining about the resulting influence of big money in politics.

"This is a deadly serious issue. It's distorting our democracy."

Likewise, the governor's take on the questions being raised about Mitt Romney's private equity firm Bain Capital could have come out of just about any Democrat's mouth.

"If Governor Romney is holding himself forward as a successful business man able to help devleop the economy, then he has to be prepared for examination of his business career," he said. "You can't have it both ways. That can't be a basic part of your platform and then say 'Wait a minute, it's unfair to examine what exactly I did in business.' It's like a guy saying he's all for family values but 'Don't say anything about my family.'"

With Maine certain to go for Obama in the fall, it's only sensible for the governor to curry favor with Democrats. But whether he'll caucus with them depends on how they fare nationally in November.

Matt Taylor is a reporter living in Brooklyn. He was the political correspondent for the National Memo and a staff reporter at his hometown newspaper, The East Hampton Star. He's a contributor to Newsweek/The Daily Beast. You can reach him on Twitter @matthewt_ny

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