2012 Maine Senate contender plans to give Olympia Snowe a run for her money

The Tea Party effect may have hit Maine’s sometimes-liberal Republican Senator Olympia Snowe on Friday as a new Public Policy Polling poll suggested she might have to consider running as a Democrat in 2012 if she wants to keep her job – something that conservative Scott D’Amboise, who announced his candidacy back in February, is jumping at.

In a phone interview with The Daily Caller, D’Amboise said the poll illustrates Maine conservatives’ disappointment with Snowe’s voting record and that he isn’t surprised that Snowe’s popularity among Maine Democrats is growing. He said he’d “definitely” call Snowe a RINO, or Republican in Name Only.

“Realistically, she’d be very hard to beat as an independent or a Democrat,” D’Amboise said. “A lot of Republicans in the state are upset with her voting record and what has happened over the past few terms she has served. Conservative Republicans, in particular, and conservative independents are looking to make a change and feel that they have lost confidence in her ability to, especially on the Republican side, stay on the more conservative side.”

Snowe was the only Republican member of the Senate Finance Committee to vote in favor of Obamacare. Though she didn’t vote for the final version of the bill in December 2009, it was Snowe’s vote that got the bill over its final hurdles and onto the Senate floor.

D’Amboise held just one political office in his life: He was a town selectman for one term, and didn’t run for re-election because he had promised his community he wouldn’t. He also ran and lost in a Republican primary for one of Maine’s two congressional representative seats.

D’Amboise launched his current senatorial campaign more than two years before the 2012 election because he said Snowe’s connections and financial backers are going to be tough to beat.

“She hasn’t had anyone run against her in the primary ever, except maybe for her first term,” D’Amboise said. “No one would dare challenge her.”

He said Snowe has a “political machine” behind her and he needs to be ready for a rough race over the next couple years.

D’Amboise said disappointment with Snowe runs deep in Maine, and he attributes it to more than just her voting record – and it extends to the state’s congressional representatives and Senator Susan Collins.

“They don’t come and talk to us,” D’Amboise said. “Not one of them held a town meeting last year. Not one town meeting. They don’t listen to ‘We the People.’”

D’Amboise’s campaign, at this point, is volunteer-only and isn’t in full swing yet, because he doesn’t want to take the momentum away from the state’s ongoing gubernatorial and congressional races. But, his supporters are working on making sure he’s got a shot come 2012.