SORRY REPUBLICANS: Moderate Olympia Snowe Retires, And A Senate Majority Is Out Of Your Reach Now

Olympia Snowe

Photo: Flickr user JRockefellerIV/ Creative Commons

Olympia Snowe, the moderate Republican Senator from Maine announced today that she would not seek re-election.She also condemned the entire political culture of Washington in the same announcement.

From the Christian Science Monitor

“”I am well prepared for the electoral battle, so that is not the issue,” said Senator Snowe, who won her last race with 74 per cent of the vote. “However, what I have had to consider is how productive an additional term would be.”

“Unfortunately, I do not realistically expect the partisanship of recent years in the Senate to change over the short term,” she added.

Snowe was absolutely one of the last of a near-extinct breed in American politics: the Yankee moderate Republican. Maine rewarded her independent leaning ways by consistently re-electing her with overwhelming margins. 

Republicans can take some solace that in 2010, a Tea Party-backed Republican, Paul LePage, did win the governor’s race despite being outspent 10-1. Although LePage only won 38 per cent of the vote in a three way race.  

But the political culture of Maine is not necessarily hospitable to Republicans generally. Obama won Maine by 17 points four years ago. 

Conservatives may not be inclined to shed tears for Snowe’s departure–as she often stymied their efforts– but the fact is durable majority parties will contain moderates. And moderates may vote with you only 70 per cent of the time, but they will empower your party in the organizational, oversight, and committee processes that are so crucial to governance. 

The filing deadline fo the election is coming up on March 15. 

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