Skip to main content

Sen. Olympia Snowe (R)
Sen. Olympia Snowe (R)

Red alert! Longtime Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe—in a huge, huge shocker—says she's retiring! All we have is a tweet so far:

“After an extraordinary amount of reflection and consideration, I am announcing today that I will not be a candidate."
While I can imagine many reasons why Snowe, age 65 and a member of Congress since 1979, would want to depart, I most certainly cannot say I (or anyone else) saw this coming. Nevertheless, though Snowe was set to cruise to re-election, it would have meant another six years serving as part of an increasingly ultra-hard-right, Tea Party-hijacked caucus—something the faux-moderate Snowe might just have gotten sick-and-tired of doing.

Whatever the cause, Snowe's departure creates an enormous pickup opportunity for Democrats in this decidedly blue state. While several lesser-known candidates had been running against her (including former SoS Matt Dunlap, state Rep. Jon Hinck and state Sen. Cynthia Dill), expect a lot more interest now from bigger names, such as Reps. Chellie Pingree and Mike Michaud. This is going to be a huge contest and it automatically makes Republican hopes of re-taking the Senate that much more distant. We'll bring you more news as it develops.

2:21 PM PT: Snowe's full statement is now available, and as I suspected, she does cite increased partisanship as a key reason for deciding not to seek re-election (though of course she doesn't point any fingers):

I do find it frustrating, however, that an atmosphere of polarization and ‘my way or the highway’ ideologies has become pervasive in campaigns and in our governing institutions. [...] Unfortunately, I do not realistically expect the partisanship of recent years in the Senate to change over the short term.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Tue Feb 28, 2012 at 02:16 PM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site