PORTLAND – Following U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe’s surprise announcement yesterday that she would no longer seek re-election, political pundits attempted to salvage an aura of prescience by naming all of Maine’s 1.3 million residents as possible candidates to join the race.
“I would look for John Baldacci, Kevin Raye, Mike Michaud, Chellie Pingree, Eliot Cutler, Emily Cain, and Tom Allen to consider running,” said Bowdoin College political scientist Chris Potholm. “Then there’s Doug Wilbur, my old neighbor from when I lived in Gorham, and also that trash collector guy who used to wave to me when he rode by on the truck. I bet he could collect a lot of signatures.”
Bangor Daily News columnist Matthew Gagnon said it is too early to rule out John McKernan, Paul LePage, and Sa-id Al-Silamha, a Lebanese immigrant living in Lewiston who became a U.S. citizen last year and works the overnight shift at Wal-Mart.
“I wouldn’t even be surprised to see Susan Collins quit her Senate seat to join this Senate race. Or, Olympia Snowe could change her mind and decide to run,” he said. “Stranger things have happened.”
Observers insisted that there are a limited number of Mainers with the political force necessary to gather 2,000 valid signatures in time for the March 15 deadline, but pointed out that it is theoretically possible for anyone to do so, even virtual unknowns like Selina Robinson, a 34-year-old hotel chambermaid from Ogunquit.
“You never know,” said Potholm.
Meanwhile, among the candidates who have already filed the requisite signatures, former Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap appears to have the early advantage, and promptly shit himself when he was informed of the news yesterday.