In a message on the Maine Republican Party Facebook Page just minutes ago, Senator Snowe announced she would not be running for re-election in 2012. The press release is not up anywhere else that I can find, but not being April Fool’s Day, and being posted on the Maine GOP Facebook page with great detail, it appears to be genuine.
This throws the entire race into chaos, as Maine’s two Democratic House members will have to take a fresh look at a promotion, and the Maine Republican Party will have to desperately grope for a new candidate to run in her stead.
More details to come, but look for both Chellie Pingree and Mike Michaud to consider running for this seat now, and Senate President Kevin Raye to potentially switch races. Other candidates will undoubtedly jump at the chance to enter this race now.
There is very obviously something going on here behind the scenes, since Senator Snowe was so aggressively campaigning for re-election, and in full campaign mode for the last year. Decisions like this – being so very much running (and winning) to very much not – do not happen this abruptly in politics. Ever.