In a surprise announcement issued late today, Sen. Olympia Snowe has decided against running for re-election to the U.S. Senate, citing polarization within government bodies as her reason.
"After 33 years in the Congress this was not an easy decision," she said a release from her campaign headquarters. "My husband and I are in good health. We have laid an exceptionally strong foundation for the campaign, and I have no doubt I would have won re-election. It has been an indescribable honor and immeasurable privilege to serve the people of Maine, first in both houses of Maine's legislature and later in both houses of Congress. To this day, I remain deeply passionate about public service, and I cherish the opportunity I have been given for nearly four decades to help improve the lives of my fellow Mainers."
Snowe was considering a fourth term in the Senate, but decided against it because of frustration with the "atmosphere of polarization and 'my way or the highway' ideologies has become pervasive in campaigns and in our governing institutions."
"With my Spartan ancestry I am a fighter at heart; and I am well prepared for the electoral battle, so that is not the issue. However, what I have had to consider is how productive an additional term would be. Unfortunately, I do not realistically expect the partisanship of recent years in the Senate to change over the short term. So at this stage of my tenure in public service, I have concluded that I am not prepared to commit myself to an additional six years in the Senate, which is what a fourth term would entail."
Snowe, considered a moderate Republican and voice for common sense, will discuss her decision further at a press conference in Portland Friday when she returns home.