The retirement of Maine’s U.S. Sen. Olympia Snow has set up a wide-open race for the Republican nomination to replace her, even though former Gov. Angus King, an independent, is considered the front-runner in the contest.
According to the National Review, six Republicans will face off in the state’s June 12 primary in hopes of winning a seat at the table to take on King and the Democratic nominee.
“If the Maine GOP fields a strong candidate, and the Democratic Party offers a mediocre one, Republicans could triumph in a three-way split, à la Governor Paul LePage’s victory in 2010,” the Review said in an article published Monday online.
All six GOP candidates have political experience and are fairly well known within the state party structure. But Maine Secretary of State Charlie Summers, according to the Review, is at the moment favored to win the nomination, based on recent polls.
A Navy veteran who served on the staff of former Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mike Mullen, Summers also has business experience. He served as the New England regional administrator for the Small Business Administration (SBA) from 2005 to 2007 before being deployed to Iraq as a member of the Navy Reserve.
But perhaps the most significant card Summers will be able to play in the campaign is the fact he served as Snowe’s state director before his stint with the SBA.
The other GOP candidates have strong credentials as well, according to the Review.
They include Rick Bennett, a former state legislator who is now Maine’s Republican national committeeman; Scott D’Amboise, a former candidate for the U.S. Senate and the House, who refers to the other GOP candidates as “Olympia Snowe recycles;” and Debra Plowman, a state senator with small-business experience.
Also running are Maine State Treasurer Bruce Poliquin; and Maine Attorney General Bill Schneider, who believes his military experience as an Army Green Beret helps make him an attractive candidate.
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