Democrat Sara Gideon takes on GOP Sen. Susan Collins for US Senate in Maine

Sara Gideon

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Sara Gideon, the Speaker of the Maine House of Representatives, is challenging fourth-term GOP Sen. Susan Collins in Maine in the most competitive bid of Collins’ career. 

The candidates

For decades, Collins cultivated a unique political brand as an independent, moderate, New England Republican who was supportive of abortion access and LGBTQ rights. In 2019, the Lugar Center at Georgetown University rated her as the most bipartisan member of the US Senate in the 116th Congress. 

For most of her career, Collins enjoyed high approval ratings from her constituents for her strong bipartisan record in the Senate and was easily re-elected in 2002, 2008, and 2014. 

But Trump winning the presidency in 2016 and taking over the GOP mantle made it much more difficult for Collins to thread the needle between being a member of the Republican party and maintaining her own highly specialized brand of bipartisan politics. 

While Collins broke with the party to vote against repealing with the Affordable Care Act along with GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski in 2017, she subsequently infuriated some Democrats and voters by voting to confirm Justice Brett Kavanaugh in the fall of 2018.  

Gideon, a four-term state representative who was recruited early on by the Senate Democrats’ campaign arm, easily consolidated the Democratic field and has proven to be a prolific fundraiser, substantially outraising Collins in 2020’s most recent fundraising quarter. 

When she formally clinched the nomination on July 14, she also received a $4 million windfall that activists raised to support Collins’ eventual Democratic opponent.

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Two independent candidates, Lisa Savage and Max Linn, are also running in the Senate race. 

Maine uses a ranked-choice voting system, where voters rank all the candidates in order of preference. Voters’ second choices can be counted in a ranked-choice runoff if no candidate earns over 50% of the vote outright and their first-choice candidate was not one of the top-two vote-getters. 

The stakes

In addition to winning back the White House, regaining control of the US Senate for the first time since 2015 is a top priority for Democrats and would be a major accomplishment towards either delivering on a future president Joe Biden’s policy goals or thwarting President Donald Trump’s second-term agenda.

Currently, the US Senate is made up of 53 Republicans, 45 Democrats, and two independents that caucus with Democrats, winning that Democrats need to win back a net total of four seats to have a 51-seat majority (if Biden wins, his vice president would also serve as president of the Senate and would be a tie-breaker vote). 

And now, the US Senate is gearing up for a high-stakes confirmation battle to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died at age 87 from pancreatic cancer on September 18. Within hours of her death, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky pledged that Trump’s nominee for the high court would receive a vote on the floor of the Senate, and Trump said the day after that he would name a replacement “without delay.” 

Ginsburg’s death threw a stick of dynamite into an already supercharged …read more

Source:: Businessinsider – Politics

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