Two political-action committees in Republican senator Susan Collins’s home state of Maine have joined with progressive activists to fundraise for a potential challenger to Collins if she votes to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court later this month.
The Maine People’s Alliance and Mainers for Accountable Leadership are working with Ady Barkan, a left-wing activist, to build a war chest for a possible Democratic opponent to run against Collins in 2020 — and their campaign has already raised more than $1.2 million.
“The people of Maine are asking you to be a hero, Senator Collins,” the fundraising page reads, in part. “Your swing vote could decide whether a rubber stamp for Trump’s anti-healthcare, anti-woman, anti-labor agenda gets confirmed to the Supreme Court–costing millions of Americans their healthcare, their right to choose, and their lives.”
The page assures potential donors, too, that their cards “will only be charged if Senator Susan Collins votes for Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court.” The quid pro quo nature of this effort couldn’t be more obvious.
But Collins has already dismissed it out of hand. “I have had three attorneys tell me that they think it is a clear violation of the federal law on bribery,” Collins told the Wall Street Journal earlier this week. “Actually, two told me that; one told me it’s extortion.”
“I consider this quid pro quo fundraising to be the equivalent of an attempt to bribe me to vote against Judge Kavanaugh,” Collins told Newsmax on Monday. “This effort will not influence my vote at all. . . . I think it demonstrates the new lows to which the judge’s opponents have stooped.”
Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood’s lobbying arm is hoping to similarly influence the senator’s vote on Kavanaugh, unveiling an ad campaign this week that features Maine voters asking Collins to oppose his confirmation.