Independent Angus King defeated a Republican and a Democrat for the Maine U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Republican Olympia Snowe.
King, 68, defeated Republican Charlie Summers, 52, Maine’s secretary of state, and Democratic state Senator Cynthia Dill, 47. King was governor of Maine from 1995 through 2002.
Snowe, a three-term senator, announced in February that she wouldn’t seek re-election, citing too much partisanship in Congress.
Although King is an independent, Democrats saw his candidacy as their best opportunity to pick up a Republican Senate seat. Democrats anticipate that he’ll caucus with them, though King wouldn’t say during the campaign which party he would side with if elected. King will have to make his decision in the coming days.
The Senate’s structure requires King to caucus with one of the major parties or be left out of committee assignments. King has said he voted for Republican George W. Bush in the 2000 presidential race, Democratic nominee John Kerry in 2004 and President Barack Obama in 2008. King said he was voting for Obama again this year.
King supports abortion rights and Obama’s 2010 health-care law, which Republicans have said they will try to repeal. He backs spending cuts combined with higher taxes and economic growth to reduce the U.S. budget deficit.