The Corner


The Electoral Durability of Susan Collins

Sen. Susan Collins talks to reporters on Capitol Hill, May 16, 2018. (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)

Liam Donovan dismantles a survey by the Democratic firm PPP, contending that Maine GOP senator Susan Collins will seriously endanger her 2020 reelection chances if she votes to confirm Brett Kavanaugh.

I’d throw one or two more pieces of data onto the pile. Presuming Collins, a moderate Republican, chooses to run for reelection in 2020, this won’t be the first time that she sought another term in her deep-blue-ish state in a presidential year. The last time she faced those circumstances was 2008, when Barack Obama won almost 58 percent of the vote in Maine to John McCain’s 40 percent, the biggest margin by a Democrat in Maine since 1964. With the Great Recession starting to hit, and Obama-mania driving huge Democratic turnout, it was probably the worst political environment for Republicans in a generation.

And Susan Collins won reelection with more than 61 percent. The race was never that close. And this was a few years after she had voted to confirm John Roberts and Samuel Alito.

If 2008 was the toughest political environment for the GOP in the past generation, then 1996 probably wasn’t too far behind, as Bill Clinton sought another term amidst a roaring economy, H. Ross Perot split the anti-incumbent vote, and the GOP banner was carried by old reliable Bob Dole. The Kansas senator just got crushed in Maine that year, carrying less than 31 percent of the vote. And yet, in the same political environment, Collins won her first Senate race with 49 percent of the vote.

I know, I know, “this time it’s different!” and we don’t know what the political environment will be like in autumn 2020. But a lot of Maine Democrats have convinced themselves that Collins is endangered over the years, only to find her winning reelection by a wide margin on Election Day.

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

Ten Questions for the ‘Squad’

Democratic infighting reached a fever pitch last week with bickering and personal attacks between members of the “Squad” and other House Democrats. During that period, Squad members Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and Ayanna Pressley mostly avoided doing interviews. However, that all ... Read More

Who Is Boris Johnson?

By next week at this time, Boris Johnson will be prime minister of the United Kingdom. Not since Margaret Thatcher has such an outsized personality resided in Number 10 Downing Street. Not since Winston Churchill has such a wit presided over Her Majesty’s Government. Wit is actually the chief reason for ... Read More
Health Care

For Planned Parenthood, No Doctors Need Apply

Poor Leana Wen. She took Planned Parenthood’s propaganda a little too seriously. And now she’s out of a job. For the longest time, Planned Parenthood has insisted that it’s a health-care organization, and it only cares about abortion — supposedly a tiny share of its business — insofar as it’s a ... Read More