Maine Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe's decision not to seek a fourth term is causing a scramble among potential Republican and Democratic candidates just two weeks before a deadline to collect 2,000 signatures to get on the June primary ballot.
Democratic Rep. Chellie Pingree said today that she's already collecting signatures. Her Democratic House colleague, Rep. Mike Michaud, picked up petitions from the secretary of state's office.
Other prominent contenders being discussed: former Maine Govs. John Baldacci, a Democrat, and Angus King, an independent, and former independent gubernatorial candidate Eliot Cutler. Independent candidates have until June to turn in their signatures.
On the Republican side, Scott D'Amboise is the only candidate for now. But Secretary of State Charlie Summers and Maine Senate President Kevin Raye are both considering getting into the race.
The secretary of state's office says at least seven others considering congressional bids have picked up petitions.
In light of the altered race, Senate candidate Jon Hinck says he's changing his plans. Hinck says he plans to drop out of the Senate race and run for Chellie Pingree's 1st District congressional seat if Pingree officially enters the Senate race.
From staff and wire reports. This story contains material copyright The Associated Press.