The Senate seat vacated by current Maine Senator Olympia Snowe is shaping up to be quite a contest with not one, but two Independent candidates now joining the race.
Steve Woods, TideSmart Global CEO and Chairman of the Yarmouth Town Council has announced his run for US Senate. In what's been a reoccurring theme among nonpartisan candidates, he says he is running as an Independent in order to inspire change in the face of a deeply divided political discourse.
"With the announcement of Senator Snowe not seeking reelection, I feel a civic duty to step forward and make myself available to the people of Maine for this critical leadership role," Woods said, "I plan to seek this national office as an Independent candidate so that the only party I will be indebted to will be the party of Maine residents."
He says his range of experiences make him "uniquely qualified" to represent Maine on Capitol Hill.
"My background in local government leadership, combined with extensive local, regional, national and international business experience makes me a well-credentialed candidate to represent the people of Maine in Washington."
Sen. Snowe's seat has largely been seen as an opportunity for Democrats since she announced her retirement last week. Some even called it her "gift to Obama". Since then, two prominent Democrats have declined to run.
More candidates could still join the race. Major party candidates have until March 15th to file if they want to be included on the June primary ballot. CBS News reports that there has been no official filings by either party.
If an Independent is elected to the Senate from Maine, they would join Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders as the sole nonpartisan representatives in the upper house. Current Independent Sen. Joe Lieberman from Connecticut is not seeking reelection. Traditionally, the two long-serving Senate Independents have chosen to caucus with Democrats.