It’s normal for elected officials to inflate their records during election season, but one Maine group makes the case that U.S. Sen. Susan Collins is grossly exaggerating just by using the term “moderate.” With the 2020 election now less than a year away, the statewide all-volunteer constituent group Suit Up Maine (SUM) has unveiled an online resource for voters who want to look beyond the flashy ads and examine Collins’ record on important issues for themselves. The Case Against Susan Collins uses publicly available information to dive into Collins’ voting record and financial ties, revealing a four-term legislator who has drifted far from her centrist roots.
“We hear time and again how Susan Collins is the most bipartisan senator in Congress,” says SUM co-leader Kelli Whitlock Burton. “But that title is only based on bills she co-sponsored, not her actual voting record. Most of those bipartisan bills never even received a vote, let alone became law. If Mainers want to see how her tenure has actually impacted people’s lives, they need to look at her votes and follow the money.”
What those votes and financial ties show, SUM leaders claim, is that Collins not only fails to meaningfully push back against the deep partisan divide in Congress, she is actually emblematic of it. Few issues illustrate that more clearly than her role in confirming Trump’s judicial and administration nominees. While her confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh received national attention and widespread condemnation in Maine, her votes to place partisan mega donors, industry insiders, corporate lobbyists, and ideological extremists in lifetime positions on courts and in powerful government positions has already had a devastating impact.
“In just three years, decades worth of vital protections for women, minorities, workers, students, immigrants, and the environment have been dismantled,” says SUM founder and co-leader Karin Leuthy. “Because Sen. Collins helped put those corrupt, extremist, and unqualified people in power, she bears the responsibility for every bit of harm they cause.”
As the lone New England Republican serving in Congress, Collins faces a difficult re-election battle in a state that is clearly shifting left. Once able to count on widespread support from Independents and moderate Democrats, Collins now appears adrift, no longer embraced by those voters or even many Republicans. For that, SUM leaders say, Collins has only herself to blame.
“Instead of holding public forums and responding authentically to the concerns of ordinary Mainers,” Whitlock Burton says, “Sen. Collins disparages her constituents, enables Trump, and fills campaign coffers with corporate interest money from away. Even worse, she votes in their interests at the expense of ours.”
“It’s a shame,” adds Leuthy. “I voted for Sen. Collins in 2014, believing her to be a ‘common sense Republican’ in the mold of Olympia Snowe, Bill Cohen, and Margaret Chase Smith. Sen. Collins’ actions over the last three years have made one thing very clear: She is not cut from the same cloth.”
Right now, only Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is less popular than Collins. That’s a stunning turnaround from early 2017, when she was ranked as one of the most popular. For those who want to track Collins’ increasingly partisan record, Suit Up Maine’s resource provides more than enough evidence.
DemCast is an advocacy-based 501(c)4 nonprofit. We have made the decision to build a media site free of outside influence. There are no ads. We do not get paid for clicks. If you appreciate our content, please consider a small monthly donation.