(CNN) – Senator-elect Angus King, who will represent Maine as an independent in the upper chamber, said Tuesday he had yet to make a decision on whether to caucus with Republicans or Democrats, but that he would make his choice in the next two days.
Members of both parties expect King to caucus with Democrats, though he has yet to publicly declare his intentions. He did not say during his campaign which party he would choose. The Senate's other independent member, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, caucuses with Democrats.
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"My intention is to make that decision probably this week, and announce it, but the important thing is that whichever decision I make, I don't consider that building a wall between myself and the other party," King said Tuesday, the first day that newly elected members of Congress arrived in Washington for orientation.
"When I was governor as an independent I worked with both parties. I worked sometimes with Democrats and sometimes with Republicans," he said.
While publicly he's non-committal, it's seen as highly unlikely that King would choose to side with Republicans, since the arm of the party responsible for electing members of the GOP to the Senate ran ads against him during the campaign in an attempt to bolster their own candidate. Democrats, who also had a candidate in the race, did not run ads in Maine.
One Republican, Sen. Susan Collins, held out hope Tuesday her fellow Mainer would join her, saying she'd "love to have Angus King as a member of our Republican caucus." She said whichever party King chooses, the senator would remain independent.
"I am positive he will not be an automatic vote for either caucus, and instead will look at the issues on their merits, and will attempt to reach across the aisle, not matter which side of the aisle he's sitting on," Collins said.
That sentiment was echoed by King himself, who said "Whichever decision I make, I am not declaring opposition or inability to work with, or unwillingness to work with, members of the other party."
The decision, King said, could come in time for leadership elections within the Senate caucuses on Wednesday.
King is a former two-term governor of Maine and will fill the seat of retiring Sen. Olympia Snowe, a Republican. In announcing she would not seek a fourth-term, Snowe decried what she saw as increasing partisanship in Washington.
If King decides to caucus with Democrats, the party would hold 55 seats in the upper chamber, compared to 45 held by Republicans. That would be a gain of two seats for Democrats over the last Congress.
Mr. King, please don't become a hamster and caucus with the Tea Party.
All I say is please what ever you do DO NOT forget how you got elected as an Independant, don't be pro repuk or pro Dem. Because both parties are wickit as all heck.
How can he be independent if he caucus with a party, a true independent does not side all the time with either party, but rather looks at both sides before voting.
The reporter must have just asked them if they were going to caucus with the Tea Party.