Fresh off of voting ‘no‘ on the Paycheck Fairness Act (yes, you read that correctly), Independent Maine Senator Angus King suggests he may caucus with the GOP if Republicans take the Senate after 2014. When asked about the potential switch after his horrible vote, King responded:
“I’ll make my decision at the time based on what I think is best for Maine,” King told The Hill on Wednesday.
Talking Points Memo’s Josh Marshall is pretty dead-on calling B.S. on this ‘potential switch’ — but it still helps illustrates a pretty important point about King that we intend to push here.
Our Primary Score for Senator King is currently a ’10’ — the highest it can be, due to his poor Democratic voting record. Because Mr. King caucuses with the Democrats, we made the decision to treat him as we’d expect from a Democrat in his D+6 seat.
This obviously provides some problems in the sense that ‘primarying’ King isn’t the correct terminology — but our score is more in place to say that Democrats should not sit idly by and allow King to represent them in this blue state just because he caucuses with them. A true Democrat in this seat should be voting 93.6% progressive — not a mere 80.8%. If we toppled King, pending on the make-up of the Senate, maybe we’d actually get common sense laws like paycheck fairness passed.
Of course, Maine’s other senator — Susan Collins — is Republican, but she’s one of the sole remaining moderate Republicans — and that, along with her incumbency advantage, are the only reasons she’s been holding her blue seat. (Until now?)
Democrats clearly also need to tread carefully here in four years — as a Democrat, a left-leaning Independent, and a Republican in a general election is sure to help another Republican sneak in to Maine’s other Senate seat. But come 2018, we should be looking for any way possible to replace Mr. King while not ceding any ground to the right. There will be opportunities available, we just have to find them.