03/08/2012 05:18 pm ET Updated Mar 27, 2012

Olympia Snowe Endorses Scott Brown In 2012 Massachusetts Senate Race

Retiring Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) endorsed Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) in his re-election bid on Thursday. In a statement, Snowe called Brown an "independent thinker" and "a much-needed breath of fresh air."

Brown has been campaigning on a centrist platform, stressing bipartisanship. He will likely face progressive favorite Elizabeth Warren in November. Warren's campaign launched with impressive fundraising and public appeal, but the most recent public opinion poll shows Brown leading the Harvard professor 49 to 41 percent, leaving some Democrats worried.

Snowe, who was all but a shoo-in for re-election, surprised many last week when she announced her retirement from the U.S. Senate, pointing to partisanship and gridlock in Congress as her primary reasons for leaving.

Snowe is backing Brown for those same reasons. "He approaches each issue with an open mind and is always willing to reach across the aisle to build bridges and find common ground," she said in a statement, according to the Boston Globe.

Brown shared the sentiment in his response, stating that Snowe "has served as an example to those of us who prefer bridge building over rock throwing. I’m committed to honoring her legacy by finding common purpose with anyone of goodwill, regardless of party."

10 more election stories from beyond the presidential field:

Shelley Berkeley Calls For Clear Channel To Cancel Rush Limbaugh [Deseret News]

Hedge Fund Manager To Enter Senate Race In Wisconsin [Gazette Extra]

Bob Kerrey's Primary Opponent Drops Out, Endorses Him [Omaha World Herald]

John Lewis Picks Sides In New Jersey's Member vs. Member Race [Roll Call]

What Sunk Dennis Kucinich [The Daily Beast]

Nonprofit Spends $400,000 On Ad Buy Against Denny Rehberg [Washington Post]

Crossroads Spends $300,000 Attacking Claire McCaskill [National Journal]

Super PACs Ramp Up Spending In Key Congressional Races [Bloomberg]

Low On Cash, Jeanne Shaheen Prepares For Re-election Run [Bangor Daily News]

Ohio Rep. Schmidt First Member Ousted In 2012 Primary [The Hill]