Former Republican Sen. Alan Simpson of Wyoming has endorsed Angus King for Maine’s open Senate seat.

Simpson served in the U.S. Senate for 18 years and was assistant Republican leader. He also was co-chair of the bipartisan deficit reduction task force that came to be known as the Simpson-Bowles Commission. The commission’s plan calls for a combination of spending cuts, tax reform and tax increases.

The other co-chair, Erskine Bowles, a Democrat and former chief of staff to President Bill Clinton, endorsed King in September.

Both Simpson and Bowles said King could become an independent bridge between the deadlocked parties in the Senate.

“Today, Congress’ sterile inability to make important compromises is truly threatening the state of our nation,” Simpson said in a statement released by the King campaign.

“While Angus King may not be wedded to Simpson-Bowles in its entirety (few are!), he views it as a fine framework to build upon. The fact is that playing one party against the other isn’t going to get us anywhere fast anymore,” he said. “We need people in Congress who can build bridges, encourage compromises, and actually make things happen for the sake of our nation’s future – not for their own election or re-election.”

For more, go to the Open Season blog.

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