New Democratic Challenger Announces Bid To Unseat Susan Collins

AUGUSTA, ME - JUNE 30: Speaker of the House Sara Gideon listens to discussion about the budget bill in the House chamber on Friday, June 30, 2017. Gideon is working to win more votes to get the Maine House to a two-thirds majority on the budget bill so that it can survive a likely veto from Gov. LePage. (Staff Photo by Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer)
Portland Press Herald/Portland Press Herald

Democratic Maine House Speaker Sara Gideon on Monday launched her campaign to challenge incumbent Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME).

Citing her experience with battling former governor Paul LePage (R), Gideon said in her announcement video that “getting things done for Mainers are what we’re elected to do, not falling in line behind the demands of someone else.”

“It doesn’t matter if that person is LePage, Mitch McConnell, or Donald Trump,” said Gideon, pointing at Collins’ votes in favor of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and the GOP’s massive 2017 tax cuts.

“Susan Collins is the most independent Senator in the country because of her ability to work across party lines to get things done for Maine,” National Republican Senatorial Committee spokesperson Nathan Brand told TPM in an emailed statement. “Chosen by Schumer and Washington Democrats, Sara Gideon is an extreme partisan who will give away Maine’s voice to radical leftists like Pelosi and AOC.”

Collins drew fury from women’s rights advocates and the left in 2018 after she gave the decisive vote for Kavanaugh, who was accused of attempted rape and whose conservative views could endanger Roe v. Wade.

Immediately after Collins announced that she would vote to confirm Kavanaugh in October, an online crowdfunding campaign raised over $3 million to donate to whoever would run against her (nobody had launched a campaign to unseat Collin at that point).

The Maine senator has two other Democratic challengers so far: Betsy Sweet, a former Maine gubernatorial candidate, and an attorney named Bre Kidman.

This story has been updated to include the NRSC’s response to Gideon’s campaign.

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