Angus King, the Maine independent who has won election to the U.S. Senate, said on CNN Wednesday he represents a serious attempt to bring bi-partisanship to Washington.
"I ran on the platform of trying to call them as I see them, not be locked into a party position one way or the other," he said on CNN's "Newsroom." "But on the other hand, it isn't a stunt - I'm not going down there just to plant the flag and not get anything done."
King has not said with which party he would caucus once in office, but members of both parties expect he would caucus with Democrats. The chamber has another independent, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who caucuses with Democrats.
He is a former two-term governor in the state and will fill the seat of the retiring Sen. Olympia Snowe, an independent voice in the Republican Party. In announcing she would not seek a fourth-term, Snowe decried what she saw as increasing partisanship in Washington.
"I ran for the mirror image of the reason she left," King said in his interview. "She said she couldn't take it anymore and I ran because I think we just got to, we have to try it a different way."
Sen. Patty Murray, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee chairwoman, said in a Wednesday conference call with reporters that she has not talked with King since the election but hopes to "in the near future."
"I'm sure he'll make his own choices in the next few weeks if he decides where he wants to land," she said. "But I do have a tremendous amount of respect for him, and I think he'll be a great senator."
Vice President Joe Biden said Tuesday that he had not talked to King yet and did not know with whom he would caucus, "but he's an open minded guy."
King's position on the "fiscal cliff" is most closely aligned with Democrats' position. Absent congressional action, this set of spending cuts and tax increases is set to take effect in the new year - and economists say it is very likely to push the economy into recession.
Democrats generally believe that both tax increases and spending cuts should be part of the solution, while Republicans are opposed to tax increases.
"The answer to that is no, you can not, it's got to be both," King said, asked if the federal deficit can be patched with spending cuts alone. "I believe basically everybody in Washington with the possible exception of [tax opponent] Grover Norquist knows that."
King said he would support a model similar to the one proposed by the Simpson-Bowles deficit reduction panel convened by President Barack Obama, whose recommendations the president did not actively pursue.
King said in the interview he looks to meet with the chamber's top Democrat and Republican before deciding with which party he will caucus.
"There are really two criteria that I've honed it down to, and one is the extent I can maintain my independence and the second is how effective I can be on behalf of Maine," he said.