AUGUSTA, Maine — Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins has announced her bid for a fifth term next year in a nationally targeted 2020 race in a Democratic-leaning state.
Collins made her announcement at 6 a.m. Wednesday in a statement focusing on her many years of experience and background growing up in rural Maine.
“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?” she said in the statement. “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.”
Collins has already filed to run and her campaign is running at full tilt, raising $8.6 million by September’s end, more than any politician in Maine history. Ads supporting the incumbent senator are already circulating, and more than $8 million has been spent in advertising on the race — an unprecedented total in the state this early.
Collins easily won her last race in 2014, but she faces a targeted race from Democrats next year after her 2018 vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court. She has rallied Republicans — including Gov. Paul LePage, who was once skeptical of her — to her side in a heavily partisan and nationalized race over the Maine seat.
House Speaker Sara Gideon, D-Freeport, is the front-runner for the Democratic nomination, though she faces a four-way June primary with Hallowell lobbyist Betsy Sweet, Saco lawyer Bre Kidman and former Google executive Ross LaJeunesse of Biddeford. Green activist Lisa Savage of Solon and independent Danielle VanHelsing of Sangerville have also filed to run.