Democratic Rep. Chellie Pingree said today that she is still weighing whether to abandon her House seat to run for the Senate.

A factor in her decision is whether a three-way general election race that includes her and King could split enough Democratic and Democratic-leaning independent votes to throw the race to a Republican.

“You can imagine that people have been asking us all kinds of questions about that and we have enough experience in Maine with three-way races that I think it definitely adds a new dimension to the conversation about what to do here,” Pingree said in an interview in her Capitol Hill office this afternoon. “That is the outcome I would not like to see.”

Alluding to the 2010 governor’s race where Republican Paul LePage won a close election over Independent Eliot Cutler, with Democrat Libby Mitchell in third, Pingree said that, “Three way races are always really tricky.”

Pingree also said that giving up the 1st District House seat in southern Maine where she is the favorite to win a third term also factors into her decision now that King is in the race.

“I am very lucky because I happen to have been able to serve in the House and I am in a good position to continue to do the work I do in the House so that’s a lot to consider in a race that’s gotten more complicated,” Pingree said.

Pingree said she might not decide for a few days. She was waiting to see a poll that was supposed to be completed tonight by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and gathering other information, Pingree said.

“It’s a big decision,” Pingree said.

Pingree’s husband, S. Donald Sussman, a frequent Democratic donor, is buying a 5 percent equity stake in MaineToday Media, which owns The Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram, the Kennebec Journal in Augusta, the Morning Sentinel in Waterville and other media outlets.
 

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