The Republican Party, moving further and further to the ideological right, has purged yet another moderate Republican from the northeast.
The three-term senator's campaign office issued a statement this afternoon, indicating that she is in good health and was confident she would've won re-election.
“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."
Snowe’s retirement represents a major setback for the GOP’s efforts to regain a majority in the Senate. As a moderate Republican, she may be the party’s only hope to hold a seat in the strongly blue state (Obama won the state by 17 points in 2008 and has gone Democratic in every presidential election since 1992).
Snowe, 65, has served 33 years in Congress.
Northeast moderate Republicans became an endangered species years ago. With Snowe's retirement, Republicans are certain to hold only three seats from the northeast in the U.S. next year: Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire and Susan Collins of Maine.
A fourth, Scott Brown of Massachusetts, is expected to face Democrat Elizabeth Warren in a tough battle for re-election.