Breaking: Olympia Snowe Will Not Seek Reelection

Posted: Feb 28, 2012 5:18 PM

It's a blow to the GOP's hopes to retake the Senate this fall: Olympia Snowe, the erstwhile Republican from Maine, has decided not to seek reelection for her seat. According to a statement published on the Maine GOP Facebook page, and obtained by TPM, moderate Snowe felt that Washington had become too partisan for her liking:

As I have long said, what motivates me is producing results for those who have entrusted me to be their voice and their champion, and I am filled with that same sense of responsibility today as I was on my first day in the Maine House of Representatives. I do find it frustrating, however, that an atmosphere of polarization and ‘my way or the highway’ ideologies has become pervasive in campaigns and in our governing institutions. 

With my Spartan ancestry I am a fighter at heart; and I am well prepared for the electoral battle, so that is not the issue. 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. So at this stage of my tenure in public service, I have concluded that I am not prepared to commit myself to an additional six years in the Senate, which is what a fourth term would entail. 

As I enter a new chapter, I see a vital need for the political center in order for our democracy to flourish and to find solutions that unite rather than divide us. It is time for change in the way we govern, and I believe there are unique opportunities to build support for that change from outside the United States Senate. I intend to help give voice to my fellow citizens who believe, as I do, that we must return to an era of civility in government driven by a common purpose to fulfill the promise that is unique to America. 

Granted, many in the GOP felt she skewed too far to the left in her long career, and it's doubtful many will really mourn her absence. Speaking pragmatically, however, a moderate Republican is better than no Republican at all -- and in Maine, it's unlikely that her successor will come from the right.