Independent Maine Senator Angus King might caucus with the Senate Democrats but he is planning to throw his support behind a Republican. The AP is reporting that King will endorse his follow Maine Senator, Susan Collins (R), in her re-election bid.
If King is simply trying to boost his “independent credentials” in preparation for future elections this is not a bad idea. Collins is not only one of the most moderate Republicans in the Senate, she is also one of the most popular.
A Public Policy Polling survey from six months ago found Collins with a 61 percent approval rating in her state. Similarly, a Rasmussen poll from a few week ago showed her with a massive lead over her Democratic challenger Shenna Bellows.
Given that the the race was already categorized as a safe Republican seat Senate Democrats probably won’t even hold this endorsement against him if it is just about maintaining his independence cred.
On the other hand if this move is a prelude to a bigger play it could add a very interesting twist to the 2014 election. In the past King has claimed he is a free agent who would consider switching to the Republican caucus if they won control of the Senate. Depending on the outcome of the 2014 election, control of the Senate could easy hinge on which side King decides to take next year.
It is possible this is King signalling he is serious about potentially switching caucuses and might be open to a bidding war.