(REUTERS) — Senator Olympia Snowe’s decision against seeking re-election in November has roiled politics in Maine with both of the state’s U.S. House members and at least two former governors considering runs for her seat.

Snowe, a popular pro-choice Republican in her 18th year in the Senate after 16 years in the House, was expected to easily win another term but stunned politicians and the public alike with a Tuesday announcement she would bow out, citing an “atmosphere of polarization” in Congress.

“Olympia Snowe was like a giant dam holding back the waters of Maine politics,” said Greg Olson, campaign manager for Democratic Maine Congressman Michael Michaud. “Now it’s like a flood with water flowing all over the place.”

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