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Olympia Snowe's Departure from Senate Shakes up Maine Politics
02/28/2012   Reported By: Tom Porter

Maine Sen. Olympia Snowe's announcement that she will not seek reelection is shaking up Maine's political landscape. Snowe announced today that she won't seek reelection, citing the partisanship in Washington as a reason for the decision, which she announced late this afternoon.

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Olympia Snowe's Departure from Senate Shakes up Ma Listen
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Three-term Sen. Olympia Snowe has announced that she will not seek relection to the U.S. Senate this year. Snowe made the announcement in a written statement about a half hour ago.

"It's a shock to me obviously, to everybody," says state GOP Chair Charlie Webster. Webster says Snowe, who has just turned 65, has indicated that she's frustrated with the way Washington works. "I think she just decided that things don't work the way she'd like them to work," Webster says. "I've heard her talk about how frustrating it is, and she just got tired of it and said, 'Give somebody else a try.'"

In her written statement Snowe says:

"After 33 years in the Congress this was not an easy decision. My husband and I are in good health. We have laid an exceptionally strong foundation for the campaign, and I have no doubt I would have won re-election."

She goes on to say: "I do find it frustrating, however, that an atmosphere of polarization and 'my way or the highway' ideologies has become pervasive in campaigns and in our governing institutions. With my Spartan ancestry I am a fighter at heart; and I am well prepared for the electoral battle, so that is not the issue. However, what I have had to consider is how productive an additional term would be. 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 says she will look for opportunities to give voice to citizens who believe, as she does, that we must return to an era of civility in government.

Snowe says she will schedule a news conference in Portland on Friday to further discuss her decision.

Keith Shortall contributed to this report.



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