Maine, a state which has had independent minded Senators and Governors, is about to have an Independent as the likely successor to independent minded Republican Senator Olympia Snowe, who has announced her retirement after a long career, due to frustration over the total stalemate and deadlock in the US Senate.
Former Governor Angus King, who had served as a legislative aide to Senator William Hathaway in the 1970s, has only run for office as an Independent, and was one of two Independent Governors in the late 1990s and early 2000s, along with Governor Jesse Ventura of Minnesota.
In the 1970s, Maine had Independent Governor James Longley, making them an extremely unusual state, in having had two Independents serve in that office in modern times.
King was Governor from 1995-2003, and now will be his own man, while if he wins, probably caucusing with the Democrats, as Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman do now. Major Democrats have decided not to challenge him, as his public opinion ratings are high, and the Republicans are almost certain to lose that seat that Snowe is vacating.
Three way races are not uncommon in Maine, as even the Governor’s race in 2010 was three way, leading to Tea Party favorite Paul LePage being elected Governor over a second place Independent and a third place Democrat.
Maine has had distinguished US Senators who have been independent minded if not actually running as Independents, including Margaret Chase Smith, Edmund Muskie, George Mitchell, William Cohen, Olympia Snowe, and Susan Collins.
So the likelihood of at least two Independents in the next Senate, King and Sanders, is extremely certain, with Lieberman retiring from the Senate.