Maine GOP Sen. Snowe won't seek re-election

February 29, 2012 • National News

FILE – In this Jan. 7, 1999 file photo released by the U.S. Senate, as senators look on, Chief Justice William Rehnquist, second from left, is sworn in by Sen. Strom Thurmond, R-S.C., left, to preside over the impeachment trial of President Clinton in the Senate Chambers in Washington. Attending left to right on the top row are: Sen. Thurmond, Chief Justice Rehnquist, Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine., unidentified, Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., and Sen Patrick Leahy, D-Vt. Snowe, who has served 33 years in Congress, released a statement Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2012 saying that she will not run for re-election. (AP Photo/U.S. Senate, File)

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — In a surprise announcement, moderate GOP Sen. Olympia Snowe said Tuesday she would abandon her campaign for a fourth term — a contest she was expected to win easily — because she is frustrated by a polarized atmosphere in Washington.

The move dealt an immediate blow to Republicans hoping to take control of the Senate in November and gave Democrats new hope of winning the longtime GOP-held seat.

“As I have long said, what motivates me is producing results for those who have entrusted me to be their voice and their champion, and I am filled with that same sense of responsibility today as I was on my first day in the Maine House of Representatives,” Snowe said in a statement. “I do find it frustrating, however, that an atmosphere of polarization and ‘my way or the highway’ ideologies has become pervasive in campaigns and in our governing institutions.”

The news came as a surprise to officials in both national parties. Snowe, 65, is in good health and for months had been laying the groundwork for a strong re-election effort, putting together a campaign team, Login to read more

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