What does a vote for Angus King mean?
Angus King’s campaign relies on his supposed political independence to position himself as a no-nonsense problem-solver who will get Washington rolling again. But a vote for Angus King is not a vote for the “new independent” that will solve Washington.
A brief exploration into King’s business ventures, his stint as governor, and current campaign finances reveals that he is a man who does not appear interested in serving Maine. Indeed, King’s record does not point to a crusader of moderation and independent determination, but to a man pursuing a self-serving agenda with a far-left bend—a combination unlikely to remedy partisan gridlock in Congress.
In 1989, King left Swift River, a hydropower company to start his own consulting firm, Northeast Energy Management. This firm relied heavily on government contracts, and King admits that over 50 percent of his energy advice involved changing light fixtures, such as lamps. As governor, King was the driving force behind a law that now requires Maine energy companies to source 30 percent of their power supply from renewable sources, effectively ensuring a demand for certain types of electricity after he left office.
In 2007, King started a wind power venture that took advantage of the law he helped pass. What’s more, King’s Record Hill Wind project received a $102 million Recovery Act loan guarantee which King personally solicited. Just before the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform was set to release a report that singled out King’s company as a bad loan from the Energy Department, King divested himself from the company. King insists this timing was an “amazing coincidence.”
With the wind power route thoroughly exhausted, King has now taken to supporting natural gas. Despite writing an op-ed about a year ago in which he vehemently criticized hydrofracking, a practice used to extract natural gas from shale rock, King has recently been calling natural gas “America’s second chance” in his Senate campaign. Just like his views on hydro and wind power, King’s interest in natural gas coincides with his corporate interests. In this case, King has recently joined the board of Curran & Woodard, a natural gas company based in Portland.
Now that some of this information is coming to light, it should not be surprising that internal polls indicate King’s lead in the Senate race has dropped from 20 points over the summer, to just four points over Republican candidate and current Maine Secretary of State Charlie Summers. As governor, King implemented tax hikes and spending policies that turned Maine’s budget surplus into a huge deficit. Although King maintains that he lowered taxes 18 times during his tenure and when he left office “there was no deficit,” a fact check by the Morning Sentinel, a Waterville newspaper, demonstrates King’s claims are false.
The Morning Sentinel shows that King also raised taxes seven times and did indeed leave his successor, Democrat John Baldacci, with a $1.2 billion deficit. Baldacci has since endorsed King’s Democratic challenger Cynthia Dill.
Many on the right fear that King will caucus with the Democratic Party. Given King’s donation of more than $10,000 to President Barack Obama this cycle, these suspicions are justified. However, it is more likely that King will caucus with whoever will enable his self-interested lawmaking. It is unlikely such a senator would support bipartisan efforts with this left-leaning record that has clearly tied personal gains to his public service. Is this the candidate that will best represent your interests and those of the state of Maine?
Do not let King’s title as “Independent” fool you; a vote for Angus King is a vote for just another partisan, self-serving politician.
Tyler Silver is a member of the Class of 2013.