Sometimes the best move is no move at all.

Gov. Paul LePage made the right choice by staying out of an effort to extend the deadline for candidates hoping get a seat in the game of political musical chairs created by Sen. Olympia Snowe’s retirement surprise.

Her announcement not only opened up a slot that every political observer in America believed was Snowe’s for the taking, but the ensuing rush to take out petitions created the potential for the biggest shake-up in Maine’s federal offices since the retirement of George Mitchell in 1994.

Both of Maine’s members of Congress have said they are interested in joining the field of six who already had announced to run against Snowe.

Former Govs. John Baldacci and Angus King are looking to get into the mix, as are a host of state legislators, former office holders and those who aspire to be, all scrambling to deliver the right number of verified signatures of registered voters to the Secretary of State’s office by March 15.

Some argue that the timing of Snowe’s announcement left too little time for less established candidates to get their acts together. Gov. LePage initially seemed open to signing a bill that would change the law and extend the deadline, but on Wednesday, word was that he was inclined to leave things alone.

It is the right call. As the flurry of activity shows, more than enough people are willing to fill these three jobs. If a candidate can’t put together a team to gather 2,000 signatures for the U.S. Senate seat or 1,000 for the U.S. House in about 10 days, it says more about the candidate’s weakness than any failing of the process.

Partisanship has become a negative force in our politics, especially in Washington, and Snowe was cited it as the reason for her abrupt retirement.

It is in times like these, however, that we see what political parties are for. They have the organizational muscle to get names on the ballot and the parties winnow the field, through primaries (and in more subtle off-the-record talks), and give voters a clear choice when it’s time to vote in the general election.

Extending the deadline would only beef up the number of candidates and shorten the period for the real campaign, which won’t begin until the field is finalized. LePage was right to let this process play out.

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