(CNN) – Angus King, the former independent governor of Maine, jumped into the race to replace retiring U.S. Senator Olympia Snowe Monday, telling a crowd a Brunswick, Maine he would help America’s economy return to solvency.
“This country’s got some real serious problems,” King told a crowd at Bowdoin College, where he is a lecturer. “Putting people back to work the very first one, and numbers don’t tell the whole story.”
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King served as Maine’s governor from 1995-2003, and was one of the nation’s only governors not affiliated with either the Republican or Democratic Parties. His speech Monday struck a note of defiance against partisan politics gripping Washington, noting the gridlock was the reason Snowe decided to step down.
“It doesn’t have to be the way it is today,” King said. “It has not always operated like that. Now it’s about politics and getting ready for the next election. And you know what, instead of solving our nation’s problems, the best they could do was drive out an extraordinary woman, and that’s wrong.”
King said he would never bow to pressure from the right or the left.
"I think I might scare them, and that would be a good thing because Maine will be sending a message," King said. "If they don't get their act together, I won't be the last person sent their way who won't play the game the way they want."
Snowe announced last week she would not seek reelection after serving three terms in the Senate, citing the “debilitating partisanship” she sees overwhelming the legislative process.
"It's become an all or nothing proposition and that failure has eroded the public's confidence about the direction of this country and about governing institutions to be at the front lines of solving these problems,” a frustrated Snowe told CNN Wednesday.