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Mrs. Smith, a Republican, was Maine’s senator from 1949 through 1973, but her votes were notoriously unpredictable. She advocated using nuclear weapons against the communist Soviet Union, but she also was the first lawmaker in Congress to stand against the domestic anti-communist campaign of Wisconsin Sen. Joseph McCarthy.

“She was famous for not telling people how she was going to vote until she got to the ‘S’ in the alphabet” on the Senate roll call, Mr. King said, “and it gave her a lot of power.”