Seventy-nine-year-old U.S. Sen. Angus King, who is not enrolled in a party but who caucuses with Democrats, said Tuesday he plans to run for re-election in 2024.
“There’s too much to do, I just don’t feel like this is the time to quit,” Sen. King said, according to a tweet from WGME reporter Johnny Maffei.
King served two terms as Maine’s governor before trying his hand at lucrative green energy investments that later drew criticism from fiscal conservatives.
In 2012, King ran for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by former Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe.
As a Senator, King emerged during the Trump Administration as a lead promoter of the now-debunked conspiracy theory that Trump’s campaign colluded with the Russian government to defeat former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
King was embroiled in a scandal earlier this year when independent journalist Matt Taibbi revealed, based on internal Twitter documents, that King’s 2018 Senate campaign conspired with Twitter and Facebook to censor social media users who had been critical of his candidacy.
Those records showed that a campaign staffer working for King had communicated with Twitter employees about users sharing posts on social media that the King campaign didn’t like or considered “misinformation.”
The video the King campaign wanted inspected by the social media companies was actually a video of the Senator comparing alleged Russian hacking around the 2016 election to the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Although King’s campaign maintained that the video of him talking to constituents was “misinformation,” the Maine Wire later unearthed a CNN interview of him making the exact same analogy, suggesting the video was not “misinformation” but instead a reflection of King’s stump speech at the time.
After communicating with Twitter employees, the campaign shared a comprehensive spreadsheet containing lists of social media users on both Facebook and Twitter that the King campaign wanted the companies to investigate.
Hundreds of those accounts ended up suspended permanently from the social media platforms after King’s campaign flagged them.
In statements from his communications team, King sought to downplay the revelations, claiming that the censorship was not significant because it targeted both his opponent on the right and an opponent on the left, and because Twitter invited them to send the list.
King’s office has also said the campaign did not share the list with the goal of getting political critics banned from social media; however, the spreadsheet contained a column that tracked whether some social media users were, in fact, banned from the platform.
Maine’s media has largely ignored the substance of Taibbi’s reporting or credulously accepted King’s explanation of what happened.
King has never renounced the tactic, and even appeared to double-down on the practice in an interview with a Maine TV outlet, raising the question of whether the Intelligence Committee member will leverage his connections with large social media companies for his 2024 campaign.
King would be 80-years-old on Election Day 2024 and 86-years-old at the completion of his term if victorious. Should King win, he would be the oldest person to ever win statewide election in Maine.
Only seven sitting U.S. Senators are older than King.