The four-term Republican senator from Maine who presents herself as a centrist has faced national criticism for her votes during the Trump administration.
New poll results released in a Bangor Daily News column Thursday shows Democratic Maine House Speaker Sara Gideon leading Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins by nine points—just the latest sign that the November election could deny Collins a fifth term.
Conducted by nonpartisan Victory Geek, the poll had voters consider Collins versus Gideon and Betsy Sweet, an activist and political organizer also seeking the Democratic nomination for the Senate race in the July 14 primary. A third Democratic candidate, attorney Bre Kidman, was not included in the survey.
Voters preferred Gideon to Collins 51%–42%, with 7% undecided. Voters also preferred Sweet to Collins, though the outcome was much closer at 44%–43%, with 12% undecided. Ultimately, voters preferred any Democrat to Collins 49%–39%, with 12% undecided. The margin of sampling error was ±4.32%.
The polling was commissioned by “Swing Hard. Run Fast. Turn Left!,” a progressive group run by Ethan Strimling, a former mayor and state senator from Portland who co-authors the “Agree to Disagree” Bangor Daily News column with Phil Harriman, former town councilor and state senator from Yarmouth.
— Mainers for Accountable Leadership (@mfalpac) May 28, 2020
Collins, a self-described “centrist” who was re-elected in 2014 with 68.5% of the vote, has seen her popularity plummet during Donald Trump’s presidency, particularly since her decisive vote in October 2018 to confirm U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh after he was accused of sexual assault. That decision provoked protests in Maine and a national effort to unseat Collins.
In a January Morning Consult poll, Collins displaced Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) as the nation’s least popular senator, with a disapproval rating of 52% in Maine. The Hill reported at the time that “Collins’ net approval rating has dropped 10 points in Maine since the end of September, a sign of the intense fire she has taken from critics since the House launched its impeachment inquiry.”
Criticism over her votes and positions that align with Trump and McConnell’s agenda has prompted national media coverage questioning Collins’ future in the U.S. Senate. As Politico reported earlier this month:
Dan Shea, author of the most recent Colby College poll, says Collins’ case for independence wasn’t helped by her vote to acquit Trump at his impeachment trial in February. Nor was her assertion that the president “had learned his lesson” from the ordeal (a day after she made that statement, Trump told reporters, not the for the first time, his conduct was “perfect”). Nor was her refusal to answer questions about whether she voted for Trump in the Republican primary in March.
“Every decision she makes seems to align her more closely with the Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell movement,” Shea says. “Here in Maine, that’s become the anvil around her neck.”
Politico noted that the League of Conservation Voters (LCV), an environmental advocacy group that endorsed Collins in two previous campaigns, is backing Gideon for the 2020 race. Tiernan Sittenfeld, LCV’s senior vice president of government affairs, explained the group’s decision.
“A member of Congress is expected to make up her mind about what is in the best interest of her constituents. Again and again, during Trump’s presidency, Collins has shown she’s not willing to do that,” Sittenfeld said. “We have an extreme and radical president who has so little interest in what is good for places like Maine. We need a champion who will stand up to him.”
Trump’s former White House doctor Ronny Jackson wins GOP runoff for Congress in Texas
Ronny Jackson, the former White House physician and President Donald Trump's onetime nominee for secretary of veterans affairs, has won his bid for the Republican nomination for a solidly red congressional seat in the Texas Panhandle.
With 100% of polling locations reporting, though some mail-in ballots will still need to be counted, Jackson held a lead of 11 percentage points over Josh Winegarner, a veteran agriculture expert and lobbyist. Jackson and Winegarner were competing for a seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Clarendon, who is retiring and held the seat since 1995.
Jeff Sessions’ fate is a warning for us all
Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions lost his primary race to be the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Alabama on Tuesday night in a landslide, according to Decision Desk HQ. Early returns showed him losing the shot to win back his old seat by more than 20 points to opponent Tommy Tuberville, who will face off against Democratic Sen. Doug Jones in November.
It wasn't a surprising loss for Sessions, though it is a brutal one. He gave up his seat in the Senate to become President Donald Trump's attorney general, and he lost his big chance to return because his one-time benefactor turned against him. Trump enthusiastically endorsed Tuberville while viciously and repeatedly denouncing Sessions.
Trump Jr. blasted for dragging Barron Trump into 2020 campaign: ‘You are messing up his mind’
President Donald Trump's eldest son on Tuesday dragged his 14-year-old half brother Barron into the 2020 presidential campaign -- and it did not end well.
Barron is the son of first lady Melania Trump from the president's third marriage, while junior's mother is Ivana, from the president's first marriage.
"In all fairness, Joe Biden is not capable of debating Barron Trump let alone Donald Trump," Trump, Jr. tweeted.
He was quickly blasted for bringing a minor into a presidential race.
Here's some of what people were saying: