REMEMBER THE MAINE

AP News
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Posted: Nov 06, 2012 9:38 PM
REMEMBER THE MAINE

Michael Oreskes, a veteran political journalist since the 1970s and now The Associated Press' senior managing editor for U.S. news, will be checking in briefly with Election Watch throughout the day. Here is his latest report:

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As Maine goes, so goes the nation.

That was, once upon a time in America, a popular phrase to describe how voting in the northeasternmost state was a harbinger of larger results. It has been a long time since that was true of presidential politics. But it may be that Maine voters have sent a larger message today about the shape of governing in Washington in the years ahead.

Presidents don't get much done without Congress, and a couple of things are already clear. The Republicans seem likely to keep control of the House of Representatives, and while we don't know yet who will have a Senate majority, it is pretty clear neither party will have real control.

So whether the president is Republican or Democratic, the other party will have strong influence in The Senate.

What happened in Maine complicates that further.

Maine voters elected their former governor, Angus King, running as an independent. That was a disappointment for Republicans, who wanted to keep the seat held by one of the last of the old-style moderate Republicans, Olympia Snowe.

Republicans worked hard to defeat King, and he won't even say whether he'll line up with them or Democrats.

Why would he? He could become one of the most sought-after men in Washington. On some issues, Angus King could end up with as much influence as the president — whichever man wins tonight.

In other words, as the senator from Maine goes ...

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EDITOR'S NOTE — Election Watch shows you Election Day 2012 through the eyes of Associated Press journalists. Follow them on Twitter where available with the handles listed after each item.