PORTLAND – Members of Maine’s congressional delegation have taken a low-key approach to the legal battle over the presidential vote in Florida, avoiding the harsh rhetoric that has come from some other politicians.
Maine’s two senators, both centrist Republicans, and its two U.S. representatives, both Democrats, have been faithful to their parties while steering clear of heated attacks.
U.S. Rep. Tom Allen said Tuesday that Al Gore should not concede the presidency until all the votes are counted.
“The Florida Supreme Court should decide this question – in particular, the question of whether these 10,000 ballots in Miami-Dade County will be looked at by someone before this race is determined,” Allen said.
He said George W. Bush would also suffer if Gore conceded and an analysis later showed that the vice president had more votes.
“Bush would be dogged throughout his tenure,” Allen said. “It would be bad for him, it would be bad for the country.”
Allen’s colleague in the House, U.S. Rep. John Baldacci, said the country will be better off once emotions begin to cool.
“It is incumbent that at the end of the day, which I hope is sooner rather than later, that both candidates will be standing before the American public and stating that they support the candidate who won, and encourage a period of national unity and that we work together,” Baldacci said.
“It’s going to be harder and harder for that to happen if passions by Secretary (Dick) Cheney and passions by Democratic activists are inflamed.”
Cheney, the Republican vice presidential nominee, recently urged Gore to concede, suggesting that history will look more kindly upon Gore if he stops contesting the results of Florida and declares Bush the winner.
Unlike Cheney, U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe did not call for Gore to concede.
“There are still legal avenues that the vice president is following, and Sen. Snowe and most Americans are awaiting those so we can bring some finality to this presidential race,” said Snowe’s spokesman, Dave Lackey.
Snowe’s husband, former Gov. John R. McKernan Jr., was chairman of Bush’s campaign in New England.
In a written statement, Sen. Susan Collins said she “can understand that after so hard-fought a campaign, the vice president is reluctant to concede; but there will soon come a point when, for the good of the country, he will need to accept the inevitable.
“In the wake of the court decisions at the state and federal levels, it has become increasingly clear that Gov. Bush will be our next president. Then we can move on toward not only healing the partisan wounds of the elections, but toward governing in the best interests of the people.”