Maine’s Angus King, the Senate’s only independent, endorses Hillary Clinton

Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, and other senators head to the Senate chamber on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, June 29, 2016, to vote as a rescue package for debt-stricken Puerto Rico, just two days before the island is expected to default on a $2 billion debt payment. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Sen. Angus King, an independent from Maine, pictured last month (wearing a lobster tie). –J. Scott Applewhite / AP

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Amid the endorsement drama surrounding Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Kelly Ayotte, and Susan Collins, it would be easy to forget about a certain under-the-radar New England senator who had yet to officially back a presidential candidate.

Until today.

Angus King, Maine’s junior independent senator, officially threw his support behind Hillary Clinton in a CNN interview Thursday morning (wearing his favorite lobster tie, which, as anchor Chris Cuomo suggested, indicates King “means business”).

“Realizing the incredible importance of the presidency, particularly in foreign policy where, as you and I have talked about, Congress is largely abdicated, I’ve got to vote for Hillary Clinton,” said King, the Senate’s only remaining independent, since Sanders registered as a Democrat to run for president.

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Primarily citing the degree of unilateral power the president has, particularly as it comes to nuclear weapons, King said he could not support someone like Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee, “whose coolness and sort of patience and judgment I have doubts about.”

Given that the 72-year-old former governor-turned-senator caucuses with the Democrats in the Senate and has repeatedly expressed serious doubts about Trump’s foreign policy acumen, the endorsement Thursday was not unexpected.

“I don’t think the people of Maine are holding their breaths to see who I’m going to endorse,” King himself admitted during the interview. “I’ve always thought endorsements are kind of artificial.”

King’s endorsement, whatever the implications, made him the last of the 45 Democratically-aligned senators to endorse Clinton.

On the GOP side, a host of senators have refrained from endorsing Trump, including Maine’s other senator, Collins, who has called out the presumptive Republican nominee for his continued “gratuitous personal insults.”

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