Angus King to caucus with Democrats
November 14th, 2012
09:26 AM ET
10 years ago

Angus King to caucus with Democrats

(CNN) - Maine's independent senator-elect announced Wednesday he would caucus with Democrats, giving the party a ten-vote advantage over Republicans in the upper chamber.

Angus King made the announcement Wednesday in the U.S. Capitol, where he and other newly elected senators and representatives are convening for a week of orientation. They will be officially sworn in as lawmakers in January.

King said discussions with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had left him reassured his "independence would be respected," but that Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader in the Senate, did not reach out to discuss potentially caucusing with the GOP.

Members of both parties expected King to caucus with Democrats, though until Wednesday he had not publicly declared his intentions. He did not say during his campaign which party he would choose.

It was 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 specifically targeting King.

On Wednesday, King said money from national Republicans played no role in his decision to caucus with Democrats, and that his pick would not bar him from working with Republicans in the future.

"By associating myself with one side, I am not in opposition to the other," King said, noting that with a divided government compromise will be essential.

Speaking after King, Reid said the new member of his caucus "represents the best qualities of what a United States senator should be."

"Number one, he's independent and number two, he's a man of principle. Always has been," the Senate majority leader said.

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, no matter which side of the aisle he's sitting on," Collins said.

The Senate's other independent member, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, caucuses with Democrats.

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.

The 55-seat majority for Democrats in the Senate is a gain of two seats for the party over the last Congress.

CNN's Alan Silverleib and Kevin Liptak contributed

Filed under: Angus King • Democrats • Senate
soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. SafeJourney

    Welcome Agnus King. Maine is proud of you

    November 14, 2012 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  2. GonzoinHouston

    Wow, wotta shocker. I believe he's pro-choice and he has long since said the Tea Party was wrong in their extremism. No way he'd be allowed in the asylum the GOP has become. I miss my old Republican party.

    November 14, 2012 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  3. BLKMANinAmerica

    GREAT decision. At least Americans are aware he is NOT a dumb man.

    November 14, 2012 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  4. Pete

    Welcome sir glad to gave some more intelligence on board..Maybe now republicans in Boehner,McConnell and the rest with their political backs against the wall will work again.They've had two years of obstructionism and it didn't work did it McConnell, either move to help your fellow Americans or move out,the choice is yours because democrates with Pres.Obama have the winning hand in this card game..You have two years to get something positive going or you'll be headed home just like your other teabaggin one termers and that Norquists pledge yah better trash that too if you expect to survive midterms ,the choice is yours be with us helping America or become one of your has beens, its your decision but we won't wait will we!!

    November 14, 2012 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  5. Mainer

    Yawn. The most tiresomely boring, vacuous of the lot. A waste. I'd much rather have someone who actually stands for anything of substance, R or D, than this banal opportunist.

    November 14, 2012 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  6. thetruthandnothingbutthetruth

    everybody I know voted a straight Democratic ticket!

    November 14, 2012 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  7. Critical Thinking

    A shocker, he is joining the majority, stop the presses. What an independent he is.

    November 14, 2012 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  8. Facts don't Lie

    EVERYBODY loves a winner!

    November 14, 2012 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  9. Gnash Lorvendorffer

    That's what happens when you let a right wing talk show host become the de facto head of your party.

    November 14, 2012 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  10. jkane sfl gop mascots the blubbering slobs allen west rover nitwitquest rick scott ,carl rove and donald trump ??????

    Angus welcome to the real world and not the gop fantasy world of romney Ryan and don't sign any pledges with the likes of the gop blubbering slob rover nitwitquest like the rest of the gop slobs and comprise yourself as they have !!!!

    November 14, 2012 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  11. joe

    Maybe he has a brqin unlike his repo friends. issues mightbe a factor ,something repos don't yet seem to understand.

    November 14, 2012 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  12. CommonSense

    Welcome King! You made the right and only wise choice...the GOP is dying a slow death with the TeaParty as a main cause along with the three stooges, Mitch, John, and Eric following rather than leading!!!

    November 14, 2012 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  13. Almost Unemployed

    I love independents that are really independent. A true independent would not commit like this but would weigh the current legislation and vote accordingly no matter what party is supporting the bill. Will so much for being independent. Maine you elected a closet Democrat sorry for miss leading you.

    November 14, 2012 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  14. Sniffit

    "Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader in the Senate, did not reach out to discuss potentially caucusing with the GOP."

    And GOPers/Teatrolls expect us to believe that the failure to "reach across the aisle" is all from Obama and the Dems? Angus King was standing in the MIDDLE of the aisle, not on the other side, declaring his open-mindedness and independence and McConnell still failed to reach out to him. It was half the reach and they couldn't even make a good show of it? That's ok, I'm sure McConnell was very busy figuring out the GOP/Teatrolls' new "number one priority" and just couldn't spare the time.

    November 14, 2012 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  15. ST

    A warm welcome Sir and feel at home! Your decision is very much appreciated by all of us.

    November 14, 2012 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  16. Sniffit

    "so much for being independent"

    It's not the Dems who march in goose-step. They frequently have problems herding their cats due to the diversity of the party. The GOP/Teatrolls take advantage of that all the time in order to filibuster, defend their secret holds or just plain shoot down legislation when it finally reaches a vote, etc., so it's entirely disingenuous to pretend that King is going to somehow be forced to vote on party lines.

    November 14, 2012 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  17. Anne

    GREAT decision. At least Americans are aware he is NOT a dumb man.
    no, he is just opportunistic which means easy to be bought.

    November 14, 2012 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  18. Expat American

    The Republicans spent millions to defeat him...then they asked him to join them.

    November 14, 2012 10:53 am at 10:53 am |