With Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) facing the very likely fact that she may lose her Senate seat in the 2020 election, the Los Angeles Times reports that the embattled senator can't seem to wrap her head around the fact that voters in her state don't see her as an independent voice representing their interests.
Reporting from a dog sled race held in northern Maine, the Times notes that everyone seems to have an opinion on the senator -- and many are opposed to her re-election.
"Collins’ hard-won reputation as an independent-minded Republican moderate devoted to Maine — an image that enabled her to continue on as New England’s last surviving GOP senator — is being put to the test this year in the most difficult reelection race of her career," the report states. "And with control of the Senate at stake, it’s become one of the highest-profile Senate races in the country, already prompting millions of dollars in spending by outside political groups."
It is the supposed "independent-minded Republican moderate" reputation that appears to be falling apart.
According to the woman who is expected to be her 2020 opponent, statehouse speaker and Democrat Sara Gideon, voters are taking a harder look at Collins since Donald Trump became president and, more importantly, after her vote to put controversial Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court.
“Wherever we have been in the state, people will come up to us and say, what do you think happened to Susan Collins?” Gideon explained. “We really hear that question posed in that way all of the time. It feels like she is making decisions that are in somebody else’s interest, not in ours.”
Voter Nicole Rogers, who admits that she is a Democrat who has voted for Collins in the past, agreed by saying she won't vote for her again due to recent history.
“I don’t think she’s doing what’s in Maine’s best interest anymore. I think she’s following party lines and I’m interested in someone who has new opinions,” Rogers confessed. "Maybe I’m just more polarized. But I need someone who does what’s right, and right now our opinions don’t align on what’s right."
As for Collins, she doesn't understand why voters are turning on her.
“I don’t even understand that argument. I am doing exactly the same thing I’ve always done. I’ve always cast votes with an eye to how they affect the state of Maine and our country,” Collins said in an interview. “I think Mainers will look at my record, remember who I am and where I’m from.”
“There have been times when I’ve annoyed the Republicans, and times when I’ve annoyed the Democrats. I think most Mainers appreciate that independent approach to the issues,” Collins said before complaining, "The civility, collegiality and compromise that have been hallmarks of my career are no longer appreciated as much as they once were. But I think the Mainer who is out there working every day hard appreciated my work ethic — that I’ve never missed a vote — and that I do what I think is right. I don’t think despite all the effort of these outside groups that in the end they’re going to be able to shake that.”
As possible opponent Gideon notes, Collins doesn't seem to get it.
“What we have seen is a country that has changed around her and a world that has changed around her, and that the decisions that she makes are now laid very bare,” Gideon explained. “There is not this place to just say ‘I am thinking about things’ or ‘making decisions based on all of the evidence available’ when what is at stake is so stark and obvious to all of us.”
You can read more here.