Angus King to caucus with Democrats

Independent Sen. Angus KingAngus KingOcasio-Cortez defends Sanders running as a Democrat: It's 'more than what you call yourself' Use of voting tabulation apps raise red flags on Capitol Hill Patrick Dempsey to star in pilot for CBS political drama 'Ways and Means' MORE of Maine announced Wednesday that he will continue to caucus with Senate Democrats despite flirting in recent months with a switch to the GOP conference.

“I have decided to remain in the Democratic caucus,” King announced at a press conference in Brunswick, Maine.

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He emphasized that “my independence has always been respected” in the Democratic caucus.

He argued that “it’s in Maine’s interest” to have a senator in each Senate caucus so that the state can be represented across the partisan divide.

As recently as last month, King floated the possibility of joining Republicans if they offered him a committee chairmanship.

“The only, the only possibility would be if the Republicans are in the majority and they can offer me something that would be especially advantageous to Maine. Somebody said, ‘You may be a committee chair.’ I don’t think so. I don’t think anybody would want me that much,” he told The Washington Post.

King acknowledged he was tempted to join the party in power.

“The majority sets the agenda and is in control of the Senate floor. This is not insignificant and certainly weighed heavily in my decision. But I think there are other considerations — particularly as they relate to Maine — that offset this argument,” he said.

He argued that he and centrist Republican Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsThe Hill's Morning Report - Sanders takes incoming during intense SC debate Overnight Health Care — Presented by American Health Care Association — Lawmakers raise alarms over Trump coronavirus response | Top official warns virus appears inevitable in US | Democrats block two Senate abortion bills Democrats block two Senate abortion bills MORE (Maine) would be able to push for their state’s interest in each caucus.

He said it was also important for Maine to have a senator in the caucus of the president’s party.

And he praised Democrats for treating him well over the past two years.

“I can’t ignore how I, and Maine, have been treated in the Democratic caucus over the past two years. I was given committee assignments important to Maine, particularly on the Armed Services Committee and it’s Sea Power Subcommittee,” he said. 

This post was updated at 4:25 p.m.