Senator Susan Collins (R., Maine) announced her bid for a sixth term in the Senate on Wednesday. Collins faces a difficult and expensive campaign in which she will be forced to fight off accusations that she’s abandoned her former commitment to centrism in favor of an alliance with President Trump and his partisans.
“The fundamental question I had to ask myself in making my decision was this: In today’s polarized political environment, is there still a role for a centrist who believes in getting things done through compromise, collegiality, and bipartisanship?” Collins wrote in an email to supporters announcing her campaign. “I have concluded that the answer to this question is ‘yes’ and I will, therefore, seek the honor of continuing to serve as Maine’s United States senator.”
The senator has said that she did not vote for Trump in 2016, and she has remained relatively quiet on the subject of impeachment due to the possibility she might be a juror in a Senate trial. However, she did vote for the Republican-led tax cut bill and ultimately supported the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh despite accusations of sexual misconduct.
Collins’s challenger likely will be Maine House Speaker Sara Gideon, a Democrat who has the backing of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. More than $7 million already has been spent by both parties and other various interest groups on ads in the race, and the election may become the most expensive race in Maine’s history.
With the Republican majority in the Senate currently at 53-47, Collins’s reelection will be crucial to retain Republican power in the chamber.