Independent Maine Sen. Angus King votes with the Democrats 94 percent of the time, but if the Republicans take control of the upper chamber in the fall he might switch his caucus affiliation.
King made the suggestion after his surprise vote to support the Republican filibuster of the Paycheck Fairness Act.
“I’ll make my decision at the time based on what I think is best for Maine,” he told The Hill.
“Sen. King only told The Hill newspaper what he’s always said – that his guiding principle is, and always will be, to do what is right for Maine,” his spokeswoman, Kathleen Connery Dawe, said Thursday, according to The Kennebec Journal. “He’s a proven consensus builder and will continue to work with members on both sides of the aisle, regardless of who’s in charge. He believes the people of Maine sent him here to find solutions, and that’s all he’s focused on.”
King, who replaced retired Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), met with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) after his 2012 victory, saying he wanted an independence guarantee before caucusing.
“I ran on the platform of trying to call them as I see them, not be able — not be locked into a party position one way or the other. And that’s what I want to try to maintain,” he said back then.
But he also acknowledged that it’s about power: getting committee assignments from the ruling party.
King vowed to be a “bridge” between the two parties, but has been a reliable vote for Reid even as moderate Dems such as Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Mark Begich (D-Alaska) and Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) have fallen away on key votes.
In September, King accused Republicans who were trying to repeal Obamacare of trying to kill people.
“That’s a scandal — those people are guilty of murder in my opinion,” King told Salon. “Some of those people they persuade are going to end up dying because they don’t have health insurance. For people who do that to other people in the name of some obscure political ideology is one of the grossest violations of our humanity I can think of. This absolutely drives me crazy.”