Senator Olympia Snowe, the Maine moderate who complained about excessive partisanship as she announced her retirement last week, today endorsed Senator Scott Brown for reelection and branded him an important independent voice for the US Senate.
“In an institution characterized by gridlock and partisanship, Scott Brown is a much-needed breath of fresh air,” Snowe said of her fellow Republican in a statement. “During the last two years, I have worked closely with Scott and have come to appreciate his independent spirit and bipartisan outlook.”
Snowe recently announced that she would retire because she believes the partisan gridlock in the Senate makes it difficult to accomplish anything. Snowe said Brown, like her, “approaches each issue with an open mind and is always willing to reach across the aisle to build bridges and find common ground.”
Brown, a Republican who won the seat long held by Democratic icon Edward Kennedy in an upset special election victory in 2010, is facing a tough reelection campaign and an expected general election matchup against Democratic candidate Elizabeth Warren.
The endorsement from Snowe could help him bolster his pitch as a moderate Republican willing to work across party lines.
Brown said in a statement that Snowe “has served as an example to those of us who prefer bridge building over rock-throwing.”
“I’m committed to honoring her legacy by finding common purpose with anyone of goodwill, regardless of party, to address the serious challenges facing our nation,” Brown said.
The Brown campaign, in announcing the endorsement, pointed to a Congressional Quarterly study which found that Brown voted with the Republican Party just 54 percent of the time, and Snowe 57 percent, making them the second and third most bipartisan members of the Senate.
Kevin Franck, spokesman for the Massachusetts Democratic Party, said it is “a little odd” that Brown does not mention his endorsements from “Mitt Romney, Grover Norquist, John Boehner or any of other right-wing Republicans who count our junior senator as an ally.”
“Scott Brown depends on money, support and advice from some of the most extreme elements of the Republican Party, he just doesn’t want voters in Massachusetts to know about it,” Franck said.Shira Schoenberg can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @shiraschoenberg.