WASHINGTON D.C. — Maine’s senior U.S. Senator announced on Tuesday that she is dropping out of the race to serve a fourth term.
“After an extraordinary amount of reflection and consideration, I am announcing today that I will not be a candidate for re-election to the United States Senate,” Sen. Snowe said in a press release distributed just before 5 p.m.
“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,” her statement said. “It has been an indescribable honor and immeasurable privilege to serve the people of Maine, first in both houses of Maine’s legislature and later in both houses of Congress. To this day, I remain deeply passionate about public service, and I cherish the opportunity I have been given for nearly four decades to help improve the lives of my fellow Mainers.
“I have long said, what motivates me is producing results for those who have entrusted me to be their voice and their champion, and I am filled with that same sense of responsibility today as I was on my first day in the Maine House of Representatives. 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.
“As I enter a new chapter, I see a vital need for the political center in order for our democracy to flourish and to find solutions that unite rather than divide us. It is time for change in the way we govern, and I believe there are unique opportunities to build support for that change from outside the United States Senate. I intend to help give voice to my fellow citizens who believe, as I do, that we must return to an era of civility in government driven by a common purpose to fulfill the promise that is unique to America.
“In the meantime, as I complete my third term, I look forward to continuing to fight for the people of Maine and the future of our nation. And I will be forever and unyieldingly grateful for the trust that the people of Maine have placed in me, and for the phenomenal friendship and assistance I have received over the years from my colleagues, my supporters, and my staff, both in Maine and in Washington.”
Reacting to the news on Tuesday, Senator Susan Collins said “I am absolutely devastated to learn that Olympia has decided not to seek re-election to the United States Senate.
“It has been a great honor to serve alongside Olympia. She has devoted her life to public service, and to serving the people of Maine. She is an outstanding colleague who defines public service at the highest level. She has built a well-deserved reputation as an informed, thoughtful, and effective legislator. Truly, there is no one who works harder on behalf of Maine and our nation.
“Olympia could always be counted on as a leader who sought solutions, not political advantage. She served our nation with distinction and she continues to bring honor to our state.
‘I know this was an incredibly difficult decision for Olympia. It will, however, allow her to spend more quality time with her family. I also know that she will continue to, as she always has, seek ways that she can continue to improve the lives of all Mainers. I will personally miss her knowledge and her support-but, most of all, I will miss her friendship, and I wish her my very best.”
Sen. Snowe has scheduled a news conference in Portland, on Friday to further discuss her decision.