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Angus King staying with the Democrats

Sen. Angus King (I-Maine), photographed during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Jan. 31, 2013. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) isn't going anywhere, politically speaking.

Maine's independent senator said Wednesday that he will remain a member of the Senate Democratic caucus, adding that his state stands to benefit by having one senator in each party.

King's colleague, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) was easily reelected Tuesday night and is on the verge of amassing a far greater amount of influence as a senior member of the Republican caucus when the new Congress begins next year.

"I have decided to remain with the Democratic caucus," King said at a hastily arranged news conference on the steps of his Brunswick, Maine, home.

King said that his decision "does not mean I have become a Democrat, or have officially or unofficially in any way joined the Democratic Party. It does not mean I have given up my right to make independent decisions."

He admitted that the possibility of switching to join Republicans in an even larger majority "is a reasonable question" and said that factor "weighed heavily" on his final decision.

But he said it's "in Maine's interest to have a senator in each camp."

"The reality of the current Senate, whether it’s controlled by Democrats or Republicans, is that nothing can or will happen without bipartisan support," he said. "In other words, it takes members from both caucuses to get anything done."

He also admitted that switching to join the GOP caucus might adversely affect Maine's standing with the Obama administration: "To change my alignment to a caucus which at this point appears openly hostile to the president it seems to me would give up an important advantage," he said.

He also thanked Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) for their relationship over the past two years: "My independence has always been respected in the Democratic caucus … and I’ve been listened to and actively consulted as the caucus has made their decisions. I couldn't ignore the history of the last two years."

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