The Benefits of Being a Swing Vote

If Angus King wants to join the GOP, Sen. Thad Cochran has a seat on the Appropriations Committee at the ready.

“If he’d like to become a Republican, let’s talk,” the Mississippi Republican quipped this week.

Though the former Maine governor is widely expected to caucus with Democrats if he wins his Independent bid for Senate this year, King has a chance to wield disproportionate influence in what is sure to be a narrowly divided chamber, regardless of which side he lines up with on leadership votes. And the courtship for his vote could be furious, even after he picks sides.

Cochran, who would welcome a return to the majority on the powerful Appropriations Committee, said the fawning over King could rival that of former Sen. Jim Jeffords (Vt.), who switched allegiances in 2001, handing control of the Senate — and the accompanying gavels — to the Democrats.

“He’ll be the favorite date,” Cochran said. “Everybody will be inviting him to dinner and trying to get to know him.”

Roll Call
7/18/12