Is Snowe Beatable?
The PPH examines the risks and rewards for Democrats challenging Maine's most electorally successful politician.
Sandy Maisel, director of the Goldfarb Center at Colby College, doubts that Allen will take the bait next year.
"I don't think you take on a challenge like going after Sen. Snowe when the downside in terms of your current career is so high," Maisel said. "I think Sen. Snowe has nearly reached the stage of being an institution in Maine, where she's virtually unbeatable. I don't think Sen. Collins has."
For Rowe, a former speaker of the Maine House of Representatives, the equation is somewhat different.
Because Maine's attorney general is elected by the state Legislature, Rowe has never campaigned beyond his former Portland district. Even an unsuccessful challenge to Snowe would make him more visible statewide.
"It seems to me that Steve Rowe in particular is in a pretty good position," Maiman said. "Even if he loses, he hasn't knocked himself out of the box." [...]
Other potential challengers might be intimidated by Snowe's perfect track record. She's won 10 straight races since first running for Congress, though her re-election bids in 1990 and 1992 were nailbiters.
Every once in a while, a popular incumbent does go down in Maine. It happened in 1972, when William Hathaway ended the career of the legendary U.S. Sen. Margaret Chase Smith.
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