The Post reports:
Maine Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe will not seek reelection in 2012, she announced Tuesday.
In announcing her plans, Snowe, 65, emphasized that she is in good health and was prepared for the campaign ahead. But she said she was swayed by the increasing polarization in Washington.
“Unfortunately, I do not realistically expect the partisanship of recent years in the Senate to change over the short term,” Snowe said in a statement. “So at this stage of my tenure in public service, I have concluded that I am not prepared to commit myself to an additional six years in the Senate, which is what a fourth term would entail.”
There is very obviously something going on here behind the scenes, since Senator Snowe was so aggressively campaigning for re-election, and in full campaign mode for the last year. Decisions like this – being so very much running (and winning) to very much not – do not happen this abruptly in politics. Ever.
UPDATE II: Gagnon further observes:
I am told her own staff was unaware of this decision until just hours before the statement went out – just long enough to actually work on the release and send it out.