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Three-way Senate race in Maine heats up

The Senate race in Maine to fill the open seat held by retiring Sen. Olympia Snowe is quickly moving to the top tier. It's a three-way contest between Republican Charlie Summers, Democrat Cynthia Dill, and Independent (and former Republican Governor) Angus King.

King is currently in the lead, though that lead has slipped in the polls from the high 20's to around 8 points. The anticipation is that King will caucus with the Democrats if he comes to Washington, though he hasn't said that yet. To date, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee hasn't come out in support of Dill in any substantive way.

That has some Maine Democrats up in arms, including Ben Grant, chairman of the Maine Democratic Party. They say that King's lack of candor on his plans for once he gets to Washington are troubling. And Grant says it's time to start standing up for Dill the Democrat.

Republicans are growing more bullish on this seat by the day. They say that their candidate, Maine Secretary of State Charlie Summers, is running a solid campaign and doesn't have to get a majority to win. 

They also have a precedent on their side -- in 2010, Republican Paul LePage won the governor's race in a similar three-way contest. 

Hoping to avoid a repeat, now the DSCC has announced that it is getting into the Senate race with a $410,000 ad buy from Oct. 2-10. Not to support Dill, however, but to hit Summers as an "anti-choice Tea Partier." 

Here's the full statement from DSCC executive director Guy Cecil:

"When Republican extremism forced Olympia Snowe to retire from the Senate, it presented a significant challenge to Mitch McConnell and the Republicans. Republican special interests have now spent $2 million boosting a candidate who is fundamentally out of step with the state.

"Charlie Summers is an anti-choice Tea Partier, who supports eliminating the Department of Education, privatizing Social Security, protecting tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas, and ending Medicare as we know it. Charlie Summers should not be in the United States Senate and it is time every Mainer knows it."