- Associated Press - Thursday, January 5, 2017

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) - The Republican minority in the Maine House of Representatives is getting smaller because a lawmaker says he is leaving the party.

Rep. Kevin Battle of South Portland says he is going to become an independent. He was recently elected to his second term.

The Portland Press Herald (https://bit.ly/2hVRlAt ) reports that Rep. Stephen Wood, a Sabattus Republican, says he might also leave the party.

Battle says there is no specific reason for his departure from the Republicans. He says he thinks he’ll be able to better serve his constituents without being a member of a political party.

Battle’s departure means the House Republicans will now have 71 members while the Democrats have 77. He will join two representatives who are not affiliated with either party.

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