Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, announced today that she will not be seeking re-election for a fourth term.
In a statement, Snowe said that although she was still in good health, she felt Congress had become too polarized for her to remain effective in office.
“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.”
Snowe’s resignation deals a strong blow to the Republican Party’s attempts to regain control of the Senate in this year’s general election. Although Republicans have made gains in the state in recent years, it is still seen as a Democratic stronghold, and her resignation gives the Democrats a good chance to pick up a seat.
Perhaps more importantly, Snowe’s resignation strikes a fatal blow against bipartisanship in Congress. The senator was one of only three Republicans to support the 2009 stimulus package bill, and the only Republican to vote for any form of the Obama health care bill at any stage (she supported a version of it in committee). Coupled with the resignation of Ben Nelson, D-Neb., this seems to signal the end of the era of moderates in either party.
For more information, and for the full text of Snowe’s statement, check out this ABC News blog post.
–Benjamin Nanamaker, InvestorPlace Money & Politics Editor
The opinions contained in this column are solely those of the writer.
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