Senator King mulls party switch after mid terms

Maine's independent Senator Angus King, who caucuses with the Democrats and has voted mostly with the majority, says he's thinking about switching sides if the GOP wins the Senate in November.

“I’ll make my decision at the time based on what I think is best for Maine,” King told The Hill. Another lawmaker who confuses his own self interest with that of his constituents.

King’s remarks are a clear indication that congressional leaders on both sides of the aisle will have to woo the 70-year-old senator in order to recruit him to their side.

That lobbying battle could be especially intense if King’s decision determines which party will control the chamber in the next Congress.

If Republicans pick up six seats this fall, they will be running the Senate in 2015. But a pickup of five would produce a 50-50 split and Democratic control, with Vice President Biden breaking the tie. King could tip the balance.

The former governor of Maine is an independent, but he has generally been a reliable Democratic vote for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).

King said after the 2012 elections that being in the majority was important to him, when he announced his decision to caucus with Senate Democrats, giving them control of 55 seats.

“The outcome of last week’s election in some ways makes this decision relatively easy. In the situation where one party has a clear majority and effectiveness is an important criteria, affiliating with the majority makes the most sense,” King said at the time.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) could try to sweeten the prospect of switching caucuses by offering him a slot on the Finance Committee or another plum assignment. The GOP would gain committee seats if it wins the majority, making it easier to hatch a deal.

Democrats, of course, could counter. King now sits on the Armed Services, Budget, Intelligence and Rules committees.

Regardless, King will have leverage in the lame-duck session.

If King is not going to be a reliable vote in the GOP caucus, they should thank him very much for his offer and show him the door. His vote on the equal pay bill was an obvious pander - not principled at all.

Would he even vote to repeal Obamacare? That should be the price of admission for King by Republicans. And they shouldn't accept anything less.


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