Washington – A publicist for Senator Olympia Snowe of Maine has confirmed that the senator is leaving the so-called ‘Gang of Six’ senators to pursue a career forming legislation outside the group.
“The time has come for Senator Snowe to move on,” Jeffrey Amle, the publicist, said. “She has nothing but the utmost respect for the rest of the ‘Gang,’ but there comes a point where you have to look at yourself and be honest with yourself, and when the senator did that, she realized that if she was going to grow, she needed to pursue opportunities on her own. If she didn’t honor that desire, she’d just wind up resenting herself and the group down the road anyway.”
Sen. Snowe had become the unquestioned breakout star of the bipartisan group of centrist and conservative senators on the Senate Finance Committee. She made headlines when she cast the only Republican vote in favor of a health care reform plan favored by Democrats, and she has emerged as one of the key players in the overall debate.
Senator Max Baucus, Democrat of Montana and a member of the Gang of Six, said he would miss Sen. Snowe, but he understood her decision.
“Look, we all kind of saw that she had reached that point where was bigger than the rest of the group,” Baucus said. “It’s time for her to spread her wings. I wish her the best.”
The remaining members of the Gang of Six are considering several options for changing their name, according to people familiar with the discussions. One option under consideration is the “Gang of Five.” Another is “Five Guys in the Middle,” since now the group consists solely of men.
Mr. Amle said Sen. Snowe will not be leaving the Finance Committee, and she will “certainly stay a senator.”
“Senator Snowe is more committed than ever to working on behalf of the people of Maine in the Senate Finance Committee, and in the Senate generally,” Mr. Amle said. “Nothing’s changed, except that now she’s Senator Olympia Snowe, instead of One of the Senators From That Group.”