2 Maine pols bow out of race for Snowe's US seat

By the Associated Press | March 2, 2012 | 10:16 AM EST

FILE - In this Feb. 28, 2012 file photo, Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine speaks to media outside her office on Capitol Hill in Washington. The surprising retirement of moderate Snowe moves congressional centrists a step closer to extinction, and illustrates the great paradox of American politics. Voters say they want bipartisan solutions to the nation's problems. But they vote in ways that assure partisan warfare, driving the GOP farther right and the Democratic Party farther left. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

LEWISTON, Maine (AP) — Democratic U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud and GOP state Senate President Kevin Raye are bowing out of the race to fill the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Republican Olympia Snowe.

Michaud announced interest in running for the Senate just hours after Snowe announced Tuesday she wouldn't be seeking a fourth term, then he closed the door just as quickly. He issued a brief statement Thursday night saying he wants to stay in the House. Raye did likewise Friday morning after previously expressing interest.

Both Michaud and Raye thanked supporters for encouragement.

Snowe cited excessive partisanship as one reason she's not seeking re-election.

Michaud echoed her sentiments. He says he's "frustrated" with how Washington operates and believes both parties have "fallen into a partisan rut."