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Maine House Speaker Sara Gideon to Challenge Sen. Collins

It was just last November when political signs dotted every Maine roadway. They'll soon be back, as the 2020 campaign season heats up. (Kevin Bowe)
It was just last November when political signs dotted every Maine roadway. They'll soon be back, as the 2020 campaign season heats up. (Kevin Bowe)
June 25, 2019

AUGUSTA, Maine — After 22 years in office, Republican U.S. Senator Susan Collins is no longer representing the interests of Maine residents, says her newest challenger.

In announcing her campaign to unseat Collins in 2020, Maine House Speaker Sara Gideon cited Collins' controversial vote to confirm Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and her support for President Donald Trump's 2017 tax cuts as examples of being out of touch.

"In passing that tax bill, where a $1.5 trillion tax cut was given mostly to corporations and the wealthiest families in America, Mainers were totally left behind by that,” Gideon said. “That was a bill that benefited people who don't live in this state."

Gideon is the most prominent Democrat to announce. Progressive activist and lobbyist Betsy Sweet, who finished third in the Democratic primary for governor in 2018, announced last week she is also running for Collins' U.S. Senate seat.

Gideon, who represents Freeport, cited her accomplishments in her seven-year service in the Maine Statehouse. She said she's especially proud of working with Republicans to restore funding for the life-saving overdose reversal drug Naloxone, over the veto of then-Governor Paul LaPage, as an example of effectively dealing with a strong executive.

"Our governor vetoed that bill. At that time, I was able to bring Democrats and Republicans to come together and override that veto. Consequently, we have saved hundreds of lives in this state since then,” Gideon said. “Those are the kind of qualities that I think I would bring to the U.S. Senate."

Collins, who will be seeking her fifth term in 2020, earned 68% of the vote the last time she ran for reelection. But in this race, she faces a different political landscape, as a moderate Republican in a party dominated by President Trump.

Kevin Bowe, Public News Service - ME