Go to HHH home page.
Smart Politics
 


Angus King Embarks On Well-Trodden Pathway to Maine US Senate Seat

Bookmark and Share

Nine sitting or former governors have been elected U.S. Senator in the Pine Tree State including four during the popular vote era

angusking10.jpgAs Maine's Democratic and Republican parties work to get behind their preferred 2012 U.S. Senate nominees for retiring Olympia Snowe's seat before the March 15th deadline, a new curve ball has been thrown - making what was already a toss-up race even more fascinating to watch.

Former two-term independent governor Angus King announced on Monday that he is launching a campaign to fill Snowe's seat.

King's attraction is not simply his high favorability rating (currently at 62 percent, according to a recent Public Policy Polling survey) and his previous success in winning statewide elections.

As an independent, King is in the best position to pick up the mantle of bi- (and non-) partisanship espoused by the departing Snowe in her retirement announcement last week.

There is also ample precedent of governors from Maine winning U.S. Senate seats, although King seeks to become the first to launch a successful bid in over 50 years.

A Smart Politics review of Maine electoral history finds that nine of the state's 70 governors have gone on to win election to the U.S. Senate including four over the last 100 years since the commencement of direct elections.

It has been more than 50 years since the last time a sitting or former governor from Maine successfully punched their ticket to the U.S. Senate, in the form of future Democratic presidential candidate and Secretary of State Edmund Muskie.

Muskie was elected governor in 1954 and served for consecutive two-year terms before running for the U.S. Senate in 1958.

In a Democratic wave election year that saw the party net 16 seats, Muskie trounced one-term GOP incumbent Frederick Payne by 21.5 points.

This marked the first time a Democrat had been elected to the state's Class I seat since the introduction of popular vote contests 44 years prior.

Muskie would be reelected three times and serve more than half of his fourth term before becoming Secretary of State under Jimmy Carter.

Frederick Payne, Muskie's opponent in 1958, was a former governor in his own right.

The Republican was elected governor in 1948 and also served two two-year terms before winning an open U.S. Senate seat by 23.8 points over Democrat Roger Dube in 1952.

Twelve years prior, in 1940, former two-term Republican Governor Owen Brewster (1925-1929) defeated former Democratic Governor Louis Brann (1933-1937) by 17.3 points in the only governor-on-governor U.S. Senate matchup in state history.

The first governor from Maine to be elected to the U.S. Senate by voters was Republican Bert Fernald in 1916.

Fernald served as governor for one term from 1909-1911 and defeated Democrat Kenneth Sills by 8.8 points in a special election to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Edwin Burleigh.

Before the direct election of U.S. Senators, five other sitting and former governors were elected to the Senate from Maine:

· 1826: Sitting four-term Democratic-Republican Governor Albion Parris won his first and only term.

· 1843: Sitting two-term Democratic Governor John Fairfield won a special election and was reelected two years later.

· 1857: Sitting one-term Republican Governor Hannibal Hamlin won his second stint in the Senate. Hamlin had previously served in the U.S. Senate as a Democrat from 1848-1856 before changing parties. He served until January 1857 as a Republican, and was then elected governor.

Hamlin served as governor for just two months when he resigned after being elected again to the U.S. Senate. Hamlin served in that capacity until 1861 when he became the Republican Vice-Presidential nominee alongside Abraham Lincoln. Hamlin would serve two more terms in the Senate from 1869-1881.

· 1861: Former three-term Republican Governor Lot Morrill (1858-1860) won a special election to the U.S. Senate to replace the departing Hamlin. Morrill was reelected two years later and served through 1876, save a seven-month stint between seats in 1869.

· 1912: Former two-term Republican Governor Edwin Burleigh (1889-1893) was elected to his only term in D.C.'s upper legislative chamber.

However, not every sitting or former governor with designs on Washington, D.C. has delivered a successful U.S. Senate campaign.

Over the last 100 years, governors from Maine made it onto the U.S. Senate general election ballot on four other occasions - only to lose the race:

· In 1922, former Democratic Governor Oakley Curtis (1915-1917) lost by 15.0 points to one-term Republican incumbent Frederick Hale.

· In 1936, sitting Democratic Governor Louis Brann (1933-1937) lost by less than 5,000 votes and 1.5 points to one-term Republican incumbent Wallace White.

· In 1940, ex-governor Brann ran for the state's other (Class I) U.S. Senate seat, only to lose by 17.3 points to Republican Ralph Brewster in the open seat contest.

· In 1996, former Democratic Governor Joseph Brennan (1979-1987) lost an open seat race by 5.3 points to current Republican Senator Susan Collins.

Follow Smart Politics on Twitter.

Previous post: How to Handicap the Super Tuesday Contests
Next post: Gingrich Records Weakest GOP Home State Victory in Modern History

Leave a comment


Remains of the Data

Strange Bedfellows: A Historical Review of Divided US Senate Delegations

Over the last century, states have been twice as likely to be represented by a single political party in the U.S. Senate than have a split delegation; only Delaware, Iowa, and Illinois have been divided more than half the time.

Political Crumbs

Haugh to Reach New Heights

The North Carolina U.S. Senate race between Democratic incumbent Kay Hagan and Republican Thom Tillis may go down to the wire next Tuesday, but along the way Libertarian nominee Sean Haugh is poised to set a state record for a non-major party candidate. Haugh, who previously won 1.5 percent of the vote in the Tar Heel State's 2002 race, has polled at or above five percent in 10 of the last 12 polls that included his name. The current high water mark for a third party or independent candidate in a North Carolina U.S. Senate election is just 3.3 percent, recorded by Libertarian Robert Emory back in 1992. Only one other candidate has eclipsed the three percent mark - Libertarian Christopher Cole with 3.1 percent in 2008.


Gubernatorial Highs and Lows

Two sitting governors currently hold the record for the highest gubernatorial vote ever received in their respective states by a non-incumbent: Republican Matt Mead of Wyoming (65.7 percent in 2010) and outgoing GOPer Dave Heineman of Nebraska (73.4 percent in 2006). Republican Gary Herbert of Utah had not previously won a gubernatorial contest when he notched a state record 64.1 percent for his first victory in 2010, but was an incumbent at the time after ascending to the position in 2009 after the early departure of Jon Huntsman. Meanwhile, two sitting governors hold the record in their states for the lowest mark ever recorded by a winning gubernatorial candidate (incumbent or otherwise): independent-turned-Democrat Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island (36.1 percent in 2010) and Democrat Terry McAuliffe of Virginia (47.8 percent in 2013).


more POLITICAL CRUMBS

Humphrey School Sites
CSPG
Humphrey New Media Hub

Issues />

<div id=
Abortion
Afghanistan
Budget and taxes
Campaign finances
Crime and punishment
Economy and jobs
Education
Energy
Environment
Foreign affairs
Gender
Health
Housing
Ideology
Immigration
Iraq
Media
Military
Partisanship
Race and ethnicity
Reapportionment
Redistricting
Religion
Sexuality
Sports
Terrorism
Third parties
Transportation
Voting