The Cook Political Report shifted its forecast of the Maine Senate election from “lean Republican” to “toss-up” on Friday, signaling a tight reelection race for Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsRepublicans prepare to punt on next COVID-19 relief bill Trump tweets spark fresh headache for Republicans Trump’s tweet on protester sparks GOP backlash MORE (R).
Collins won her last reelection bid in 2014 by more than 30 points but is expected to face a much tighter race this time around, with the leader of the state’s House of Representatives, Sara Gideon (D), announcing she would challenge the four-term senator.
A press release Friday from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) claimed that the incumbent senator’s support had cratered in the state following her confirmation vote for Supreme Court Justice Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughGOP senators urge Trump to back off Murkowski threat Judd Gregg: A government in free fall The 7 most anticipated Supreme Court decisions MORE last year, a controversial vote that Democrats argue pushed her outside the label of “moderate.”
“This is the latest in a string of bad news for the vulnerable incumbent, who has continued to lose support among Mainers and seen her net approval drop by a ‘stunning’ amount since President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Warren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Esper orders ‘After Action Review’ of National Guard’s role in protests MORE took office,” the DSCC said in a press release, quoting a Morning Consult analysis.
The senator defended her vote to confirm Kavanaugh last month in an interview with The New York Times, telling the newspaper she did not regret her vote “in the least.”
Gideon, meanwhile, hammered Collins for the vote in her campaign announcement earlier this year.
“At one point, maybe Sen. Collins was different, but she doesn’t seem that way anymore: taking over a million dollars from drug companies and the insurance industry and voting to put Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court,” Gideon said.
Collins’s campaign did not immediately return a request for comment from The Hill.
A spokesman for the National Republican Senatorial Campaign (NRSC) told The Hill in a statement that Gideon was “plagued by scandal,” and characterized Gideon’s primary opponent Betsy Sweet as “too liberal.”
“Susan Collins has the most bipartisan record in the U.S. Senate because she works with members of both parties to deliver results for Maine families. She is in a strong position because voters know that Collins is an independent voice for Maine, while Sara Gideon is plagued with scandal and Betsy Sweet is too liberal,” Nathan Brand said.
Little polling exists of the 2020 Maine Senate race so far, but a Gravis poll taken in June indicated that Collins had a 14-point lead over Gideon.
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