DSCC has ‘not endorsed’ in Maine Senate race, Patty Murray says

October 2, 2012

The Senate Democrats’ campaign arm is spending money in the Maine Senate race, but it still isn’t making an endorsement there.

“We have not endorsed in that race,” Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chair Patty Murray (Wash.) told reporters on a Tuesday conference call designed to discuss developments in Monday night’s Massachusetts Senate debate.


(J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

Murray’s position is consistent with the neutral stance the committee has adopted since the primary. But it’s the first time she has weighed in on the subject since the DSCC's independent expenditure arm made the decision last week to make its first foray into Maine in the form of a $410,000 ad buy kicking off Tuesday.

Convinced that independent former governor Angus King – who polls show is the frontrunner – would caucus with their party if elected, national Democrats have taken a hands-off approach with respect to Democratic nominee Cynthia Dill. In other words, they appear content to let King win.

But the National Republican Senatorial Committee has complicated matters by going after King on the airwaves, in an effort to boost Republican nominee Charlie Summers. Their ads have shrunk King’s lead over the second-place Summers, prompting Democrats to launch their own buy, presumably aimed at hitting Summers.

In contrast to national Democrats' posture, the state Democratic Party is behind Dill. State Democratic Party Chairman Ben Grant penned an op-ed last week questioning those who have believe King would caucus with the Democratic Party. 

The stakes of the Maine race extend well beyond the state’s borders, with control of the Senate majority hanging in the balance. Three-way races are unpredictable, so an unexpected ending could be in the offing in New England.

Updated at 2:57 p.m.

Sean Sullivan has covered national politics for The Washington Post since 2012.
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