Trump Expresses Support After Maine Senator Announces Re-election Bid

December 25, 2019 Updated: December 25, 2019
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President Donald Trump has expressed his support for Maine Senator Susan Collins’ bid for re-election after she officially announced the news last week.

Republican South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) last week praised Collins in a tweet, which included a link to her campaign’s donation page.

“My friend @SenSusanCollins showed unbelievable courage during Justice Kavanaugh’s confirmation and at other times when our country has needed a steady voice,” Graham wrote.

“We need her to ensure a GOP majority in 2020. Please support her today,” he added.

On Monday, Trump responded to Graham’s tweet, writing: “I agree 100%.”

Collins refused to vote for Trump when he ran for president in 2016, denouncing him for “mock[ing] the vulnerable,” and “attacking ethnic and religious minorities.” She instead wrote in House Speaker Paul Ryan.

She also voted to block Trump’s repeal of the Affordable Care Act in 2017, has been outspoken on occasion about her dislike for Trump’s prolific Twitter activity, and criticized his decision to withdraw troops from Syria. However, it appears as though the president isn’t holding any grudges.

Collins has been raising money and running TV ads as if she was running for reelection for months, but officially announced her bid in Maine with an email to supporters on Dec. 18, The Associated Press reported.

“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.

“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,” she added.

Collins told The Associated Press that she took time with her decision and that her “bipartisan commonsense approach” will prove to be of great importance in an era of partisanship.

“I wanted to think hard about whether there’s still a role in Washington for someone who’s in the middle who believes in bipartisanship, compromise, and collegiality. Those used to be the hallmarks of the Senate but in recent years have become increasingly rare as the Senate has become more and more polarized,” she said.

Collins also said her seniority in the Senate can help Maine and that if she were to be reelected, she would become chairwoman or ranking Republican of the powerful Appropriations Committee in 2023.

The last time a Maine senator led the committee was in the 1930s, she noted.

However, her campaign for a fifth term is not expected to be an easy one, and is projected to be the most expensive political race in the history of Maine, a state with a history of political independence that is currently clashing with rising polarization and partisanship.

Meanwhile, the 67-year-old centrist has avoided addressing the question of whether she will endorse Trump in his 2020 presidential election bid.

Collins faces four other Democrats vying for the party’s nomination, including Maine House Speaker Sara Gideon, who is backed by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, activist Betsy Sweet, attorney Bre Kidman and former Google executive Ross LaJeunesse.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.