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Maine Senator Olympia Snowe Will not Seek Reelection in Blow to GOP


"I cherish the opportunity I have been given for nearly four decades to help improve the lives of my fellow Mainers."

PORTLAND, Maine (The Blaze/AP) -- Maine's U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe says she's not running for re-election.

The three-term senator's campaign office issued a statement Tuesday afternoon that was confirmed by her campaign manager. The Republican senator said in the statement that she was confident she would've won re-election but said she was frustrated by "an atmosphere of polarization and "my way or the highway ideologies."

A portion of her statement read:

"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.

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. 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."

Snowe has served 33 years in Congress.

UPDATE: Blaze Assistant Editor Mytheos Holt managed to get an exclusive interview with one of Snowe's former Tea Party-affiliated primary challengers, now turned full-fledged Independent alternative candidate. Now that Snowe is no longer running, Ian Dodge arguably has a good shot at running a real race. Some excerpts from the interview below:

Mytheos Holt: What makes you specifically a Tea Party candidate? What are your credentials?

Andrew Ian Dodge: Well, I do not call myself a tea party candidate as the movement is not a party and thus does not have candidates. However the fact I was involved in the tea party movement from its beginning does give me some cred one would hope. I like to call myself a tea party sourced candidate. I was Tea Party Patriots Maine coordinator for Maine and organized the first event in April 2009.

Until I announced my run for the US Senate in 2011 I was heavily involved with the TPP at all levels. I did many interviews about the tea party movement with press both foreign and domestic. The TPP values of limited government, free market and fiscal conservatism have always been my guiding political principles. I was part of the team that came up with those three simple phrases for the TPP at its inception.

Holt: You recently dropped your membership in the Republican Party. Why?

Dodge: I was disgusted by the advertisements circulated by Charlie Webster on the "same day voting" registration referendum. They were jingoistic and xenophobic. I called for his resignation then. Charlie Webster remains the head of the Republican Party of Maine and was responsible for the caucus farce. The purposeful disenfranchisement and vote suppression flies in the face of the reason I got involved in the tea party movement in the first place. I believe that we need as many people involved in the process rather than as few as possible. For Webster to call anyone criticizing the results "wingnuts" and slamming the caucus Chairs all over the state was a disgrace. The fact he is still in his job speaks volumes.

I received emails and calls from friends and supporters doubting whether or not the primary process would be fair and suggesting I leave the Republican Party. My Northern Maine spokesman and organizer Randy Hughes-King left the party the Monday after the caucus "result" announcement as he was disgusted with the farce. For the Republican Party of Maine to be driving away able talented keen young adults out of arrogance and elitism reflects badly on their future.

Holt: What do you see as the most pressing battle over the coming years?

Dodge: Foreign policy is always a concern of course but it is to a certain extent out of our control. The US needs to support our allies like Israel while at the same time stop sending billions to countries that hate us. The link between the foreign and domestic issues is oil. We need to drill here, drill now. Using our consumption of foreign as a de facto suppliment to foreign aid is just wrong. We need to stop chasing unproven technology with the already over-taxed American public's money and let private innovative companies rise or fall on their own merits. Ultimately the US needs to cut the size of its government, eliminate the deficit and pay off the debt. We need to chance the tax system whether it is by Cain's 9/9/9 plan or with a flat tax. Just twiddling with the current system is not going to fix the problem.

Andrew Ian Dodge

Dodge has meager competition at this stage for the Tea Party mantle, even within the GOP. Prior to dropping out, his only competition in the race was one Scott D'Amboise, a candidate who infamously flubbed his first national interview when he was approached by reporters at the now defunct moderate Republican website FrumForum. Here's D'Amboise on Obama:

The President says he’s Christian but you know, he’s exercising a lot of Muslim faith too. Me personally, I’m a Christian conservative and I don’t hold any malice to anybody whether they’re Muslim or Jewish or Catholic or anything else. It’s the fact that everybody has a right to believe in what they do. Am I concerned? Of course I’m concerned, but I’m concerned of all of his views as president. I don’t think he’s been a good president at all. He’s very underqualified for the position. And I just believe that he needs to come forward with his views a little bit clearer.

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