U.S. Sen. Susan Collins has made it official. She is among three moderate Republican senators whose aides confirmed to The Hill on Tuesday that they will not attend the national Republican Party convention in Florida next month.
For Collins, this might not be much of a surprise. According to the news website, one of her aides said that she had no plans to attend the GOP convention because she never goes when she herself is up for reelection. U.S. Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Mitt Romney also confirmed their planned non-attendance, according to The Hill.
Collins is likely facing a close race against Democratic House Speaker Sara Gideon of Freeport. A poll released Monday showed Gideon with a narrow lead over Collins, receiving 46 percent support compared with 42 percent for the Republican incumbent.
The poll of more than 1,000 Maine voters conducted July 2 and 3 had a margin of error of 3.1 percent.
That poll’s margin is similar to that of a March poll released by Public Policy Polling, a North Carolina-based firm that typically polls for Democrats. It is the third straight public poll showing Gideon with a slight lead over Collins, who was the leader in early polls last year. Earlier polling pegged Gideon as the favorite in a July 14 Democratic primary with lobbyist Betsy Sweet and lawyer Bre Kidman.
Collins is behind Gideon in fundraising, with Gideon having received over $23 million in total money raised to Collins’ $16.2 million. And the race is already the most expensive in Maine’s history.
According to The Hill, the three GOP senators are the latest Republicans to say that they do not plan to attend the convention. Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Sen. Lamar Alexander were the others. Republicans announced last month that they were moving the convention from Charlotte, N.C., to Jacksonville, Fla., amid a break with North Carolina’s governor over whether the convention could go forward without social distancing measures in place.