Maine Senator Angus King announced this afternoon that he will remain in the Democratic caucus in the next Congress, even after the Republican party seized control of the Senate in Tuesday’s elections.

King said that he based his decision on what he thought would be best for Maine.

“It is in Maine’s interests to have a senator in each camp,” he said from the porch of his home on Potter Street in Brunswick. “The reality of the current Senate, whether it’s controlled by Republicans or Democrats, is that nothing can or will happen without bipartisan support.”

To demonstrate the advantage of having a senator in each caucus, King referenced a time when he and Maine’s Republican senator, Susan Collins, worked both sides of the aisle to secure the passage of an amendment that was important to Maine.

Another benefit to having a senator in each caucus, King said, is having at least one senator caucusing with the party of the president.

“A great deal of what we do in Washington has to do with working with the administration,” he said. “To change my alignment to a caucus which at least at this point appears openly hostile to the president—it seemed to me would give up an important advantage.”

King indicated over the summer that he would consider switching caucuses if the Republicans won control of the Senate. He acknowledged this afternoon that serving in the minority will have its drawbacks, but said that he has learned from Collins how to get things done as a member of the minority party.

“I think I have a role to play similar to the role that Susan Collins has played in the Republican caucus, and that is to pull my colleagues toward the center,” he said. “One of the real problems in my view with modern American politics and in Congress is polarization. Both sides need problem solvers who are interested in getting things done rather than scoring ideological or political points.”

King emphasized that he remains an independent who is committed to bipartisanship, carefully explaining what it does and does not mean that he decided to caucus with the Democrats.

"It does not mean I’ve become a Democrat or have officially or unofficially in any way joined the Democratic Party,” he said. “What it does mean is that I will have lunch with the Democrats on Tuesdays, and I will participate in their internal considerations of the questions that are on the Senate agenda.”

Although pundits will spend weeks arguing about what Tuesday night’s elections mean, King said that he believes that the American people sent a clear message.

“The people want us to get to work, to talk to each other, and to solve problems, and finally to reignite the sense of hope and optimism that is such a huge part of who we are as Americans,” he said. “In the end, whom I caucus with is much less important than whom I work with.”