United States Senate election in Maine, 2012
King: 40–50% 50–60% 60–70%
The 2012 United States Senate election in Maine was held on November 6, 2012, alongside a presidential election, other elections to the United States Senate in other states, as well as elections to the United States House of Representatives and various state and local elections. Despite initially being in the race early on and poised to easily win, popular Republican U.S. Senator Olympia Snowe suddenly decided to retire instead of running for reelection to a fourth term.
Former Independent Governor Angus King won the open seat with 52.9% of the vote against Republican Charlie Summers and Democrat Cynthia Dill. Following Independent Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman's retirement from the Senate in 2013, King became the second Independent incumbent U.S. Senator, after Vermont's Bernie Sanders.
|Elections in Maine|
Incumbent Olympia Snowe won re-election to a third term in 2006 with 74.01% of the vote over Democrat Jean Hay Bright and independent Bill Slavick. Due to the unpopularity of some of Snowe's votes among conservative voters, namely for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and initial support of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, there was speculation that she would face competition in the 2012 Republican primary from more conservative challengers. The Tea Party Express had promised to aid in a primary against Snowe. There had also been speculation that Snowe would switch parties, though she has always denied this. By June 2011, Snowe had officially entered her name with signatures to run in the Republican primary, saying, she "would never switch parties".
However on February 28, 2012, Snowe announced that she would be retiring from the U.S. Senate at the end of her term, citing the "atmosphere of polarization and 'my way or the highway' ideologies has become pervasive in campaigns and in our governing institutions" as the reason for her retirement. Her announcement opened the door for candidates from all parties and creating a much more contested 2012 election.
- Andrew Ian Dodge, conservative activist (ran as an independent)
- Olympia Snowe, incumbent U.S. senator (retiring)
- Steve Abbott, athletic director at the University of Maine and candidate for Governor in 2010
- Peter Cianchette, former United States Ambassador to Costa Rica and nominee for Governor in 2002
- William Cohen, former United States Secretary of Defense and former U.S. Senator
- Peter Mills, Executive Director of the Maine Turnpike Authority, former State Senator and candidate for Governor of Maine in 2002 and 2006
- Kevin Raye, President of the Maine Senate (running for U.S. House of Representatives)
|MPRC||March 31 – April 2, 2012||318||±5.49%||7.1%||3.9%||5.7%||12%||3.9%||27.6%||—||39.7%|
On the ballot
|Maine People's Resource Center||March 31 – April 2, 2012||415||±4.8%||20.3%||16.7%||6.2%||1.9%||—||54.8%|
- Danny Dalton (Non-Party), former federal employee and small business owner
- Cynthia Dill (Democratic), State Senator and former State Representative
- Andrew Ian Dodge (Independent), conservative activist affiliated with the Libertarian Party of Maine
- Angus King (Independent), former Governor of Maine
- Benjamin Pollard (write-in), homebuilder (lost Democratic primary)
- Charlie Summers (Republican), Secretary of State of Maine and former State Senator
- Steve Woods (Independent), Chairman of Yarmouth Town Council and CEO of TideSmart Global
The second debate was held September 17, 2012. Topics included President Barack Obama's health care overhaul, energy policy, gun control, capital gains taxes and whether the Senate is broken.
The group Maine People's Alliance called on Charles Summers to resign his position as Secretary of State of Maine, stating that it was a conflict of interest for the secretary of state to oversee their own election to another office. They also had concerns over past actions in sending letters to college students about voter registration requirements. A spokesperson for Summers said that he had turned over all election oversight to a deputy Secretary of State, and Summers himself stated that he was not going to resign. No Secretary of State or Maine Attorney General who was seeking higher office in the last 30 years has resigned.
Steve Woods announced on August 1 that, if elected, he would donate his entire Senate salary to Maine charities chosen by an independent committee of business and nonprofit leaders he would appoint. He encouraged Angus King to make a similar pledge; King responded through his spokesperson that he and his wife would continue to donate money to charities, and that all candidates should do so in "the best way they feel they can."
Steve Woods met with Angus King on June 13 to discuss a proposal by Woods for either man to leave the race if it appeared one or the other was not going to win, in order to avoid being a spoiler candidate. Woods specifically cited the 2010 Maine Gubernatorial election as well as the 2000 presidential election as examples of what could result from a fragmented electorate. King stated that while he had not fully considered Woods' proposal, he didn't think he was a spoiler, in that "If I thought that, I wouldn't be running." Woods said that regardless of whether or not King accepted the proposal, he likely would abide by it and endorse King in late October if it appeared he would not win. Woods did indeed drop out and endorsed King on November 4, stating that King had the "highest degree of integrity to represent all Mainers". Woods' name, however, remained on the ballot.
Campaign spending issues
On June 13, Angus King held a press conference and stated that he would discourage campaign spending by outside groups if his opponents would agree to do the same. King criticized such spending as "a tidal wave of anonymous campaign expenditures that distort our political process." His proposed agreement is modeled on a similar agreement between Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown and his opponent Elizabeth Warren, which requires them, if outside money is spent on their behalf, to donate an equivalent amount of money to the charity of their opponent's choice. Democrat Cynthia Dill criticized the proposal as lacking "detail or substance" but added that she "looked forward to seeing a proposed agreement." Republican Charles Summers did not state whether he would accept King's proposal or not but criticized King for discussing campaign finance instead of issues like the economy and government spending. Andrew Ian Dodge called such an agreement "unworkable", while Steve Woods said he would abide by such an agreement.
In a letter to King, Dill again stated that she was open to an agreement on limiting outside spending in the race, but she also called on King to support measures the candidates can take themselves to limit campaign spending. These include pledging to not finance their campaigns themselves and limiting contributions to $500. Dill also called on King to take stands on a variety of campaign finance legislation, such as the DISCLOSE Act. King told the Bangor Daily News the prior week that he does support increased disclosure requirements for super-PACs, but did not specifically say he supports the DISCLOSE Act. King is so far the only candidate to benefit from super-PAC money, as a group called icpurple Inc. spent $24,000 making an online advertisement for King. King stated that as part of his proposal, he would ask the group to take the ads down.
Steve Woods pledged to not spend more than $1.3 million on his campaign, or roughly $1 per Maine resident, including campaign donations and his own money. He stated, "If I can't get my message out and if the public isn't interested in that message, to spend more would be egregious."
On July 18, King was criticized for attending a fundraiser in Washington, D.C., where he raised money from PACs and other donors. Republicans said King's actions were "the height of hypocrisy" for speaking out against PAC money and raising it at the same time, while Cynthia Dill criticized King as an "insider who is working the system". King defended his actions by stating that he "took no joy" in them but that it was necessary for him to raise money to defend himself in the "dogfight" he expects. King also reiterated his support of changing campaign finance laws and said that he was making no promises to donors.
|Andrew Ian Dodge|
|Candidate (party)||Receipts||Disbursements||Cash on hand||Debt|
|Angus King (I)||$937,694||$434,250||$503,444||$37,742|
|Charlie Summers (R)||$294,081||$174,082||$119,289||$55,000|
|Cynthia Dill (D)||$104,512||$75,988||$28,521||$5,698|
|Source: Federal Election Commission|
Top contributors by employer
|Angus King||Contribution||Charlie Summers||Contribution||Cynthia Dill||Contribution|
|Lee Auto Mall||$15,000||Alamo PAC||$10,000||Auto Europe||$2,500|
|Bernstein Shur||$13,300||Kelly PAC||$10,000||Thornton Academy||$2,500|
|Bowdoin College||$11,500||Making Business Excel PAC||$5,000||Southern Maine Community College||$2,500|
|Elevation Partners||$10,000||Royal Shell Real Estate||$5,000||Jones Day||$2,000|
|Lee Auto Mall-Auburn||$10,000||White Rock Distilleries||$5,000||Quimby Foundation||$2,000|
|International Union of Operating Engineers||$10,000||D&G Machine Products||$3,000||City of Middletown Connecticut||$1,000|
|Spectrum Health||$8,950||3M Co.||$2,500||Mill to the Hill PAC $1,000||$1,000|
|Pierce Atwood LLP||$8,500||Doyle Group||$2,500|
|Martin's Point Health Care||$8,250||Speedway Motorsports, Inc.||$2,500|
|Eaton Peabody||$6,000||Moulison North||$2,500|
|Angus King||Contribution||Charlie Summers||Contribution||Cynthia Dill||Contribution|
|Retired||$117,500||Leadership PACs||$25,000||Lawyers/Law Firms||$3,850|
|Lawyers/Law Firms||$56,600||Misc Business||$23,500||Retired||$2,550|
|Financial Institutions||$37,250||Retired||$12,000||Health Professionals||$2,500|
|Real Estate||$26,600||Real Estate||$6,000||Non-Profit Institutions||$2,000|
|Automotive Industry||$25,000||Manufacturing & Distributing||$5,500||Women's Issues||$1,500|
|Misc Finance||$24,750||Alcohol industry||$5,000||Civil Servants/Public Officials||$1,250|
|Education||$20,960||General Contractors||$3,000||Leadership PACs||$1,000|
|Misc Business||$20,750||Business Services||$2,750||Misc Business||$500|
|Health Professionals||$19,450||Telecommunications industry||$2,500||Construction Industry||$500|
|WBUR TV/MassInc Polling Group||June 13–14, 2012||506||±4.4%||23%||9%||50%||1%||17%|
|Portland Press Herald/Critical Insights||June 20–25, 2012||615||±4%||27%||7%||55%||1%||9%|
|Moore Consulting||August 5–6, 2012||500||±n/a||28%||8%||46%||—||—|
|Portland Press Herald/Critical Insights||September 12–16, 2012||618||±4%||28%||12%||50%||3%||8%|
|Maine People's Resource Center||September 15–17, 2012||856||±3.35%||28%||15%||44%||6%||7%|
|Public Policy Polling||September 17–18, 2012||804||±3.5%||35%||14%||43%||—||8%|
|Rasmussen Reports||September 25, 2012||500||±4.5%||33%||14%||45%||1%||7%|
|Pan Atlantic SMS||September 24–28, 2012||400||±4.9%||24%||12%||50%||—||14%|
|Portland Press Herald/Critical Insights||October 30–31, 2012||613||±4%||33%||11%||49%||—||7%|
|Public Policy Polling||November 1–2, 2012||1,633||±2.4%||36%||12%||50%||—||2%|
|Maine People's Resource Center||November 1–3, 2012||905||±3.26%||34%||10.7%||47.6%||4.5%||3.3%|
|Libertarian||Andrew Ian Dodge||5,543||0.80%||n/a|
|Independent gain from Republican||Swing|
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- "Maine People's Alliance wants Summers resignation". Bangor Daily News. June 21, 2012. Retrieved June 21, 2012.
- "Independent Senate candidate Steve Woods says he'll give Senate salary to Maine charities". Bangor Daily News. August 1, 2012. Retrieved August 1, 2012.
- "Fellow independent Senate candidate Steve Woods issues challenge to Angus King — Politics — Bangor Daily News — BDN Maine". Bangordailynews.com. June 14, 2012. Retrieved August 28, 2012.
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- Cousins, Christopher (June 13, 2012). "Angus King pledges to discourage super-PAC money if his opponents do the same — Politics — Bangor Daily News — BDN Maine". Bangordailynews.com. Retrieved August 28, 2012.
- "Dill says she's open to King's super-PAC challenge, wants more money limits". Bangor Daily News. June 21, 2012. Retrieved June 21, 2012.
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- Cousins, Christopher (June 20, 2012). "Yarmouth councilman takes a truly unconventional approach in bid for U.S. Senate — Politics — Bangor Daily News — BDN Maine". Bangordailynews.com. Retrieved August 28, 2012.
- "Angus King's opponents blast him for D.C. fundraiser | The Kennebec Journal, Augusta, ME". Kjonline.com. Retrieved August 28, 2012.
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- Miga, Andrew (October 6, 2012). "King's independent bent roils Maine Senate race". Associated Press. Retrieved October 22, 2012.
- Dill Campaign Finances
- King Campaign Finances
- [http://www.opensecrets.org/races/contrib.php?cycle=2012&id=MES1 Center for Responsive Politics
- Donors by Industry (opensecrets.org)
- Elections Division from the Maine Secretary of State
- Campaign contributions at OpenSecrets.org
- Outside spending at the Sunlight Foundation
- Candidate issue positions at On the Issues
- Official campaign websites