Jane Brann has never seen herself as tied to a political party, but she became a Republican in 1996 to help Susan Collins win the U.S. Senate primary. She stayed in the party until President Donald Trump rose to power in 2016.
She always liked that Collins, a Caribou native, grew up in Maine, and believed that Congress needed more women. Brann viewed Collins as a moderate Republican willing to work across the aisle, but she is not so sure that is still the case since Trump came into office.
A self-described centrist and independent, Brann, 75, of West Enfield, worked for the state in a variety of roles before going to work as a financial advisor. She has been retired for five years.
Brann noted Collins votes with Trump the majority of the time — though far less than other Republicans — and that worries her when it comes to the future of health care and the environment. She wants to see the kind of public option plan that House Speaker Sara Gideon, D-Freeport, is backing in her race with Collins so health care is not tied to employment.
Part of the problem, Brann said, is that Trump’s arrival has changed the Republican Party. She said you “can’t believe anything he says” and that he has failed to take the coronavirus pandemic seriously. That puts Collins in a tough spot, she said.
“If she votes against Trump, the Trump supporters will be mad at her. If she votes to support his policies, the rest of us will not be happy with her,” Brann said.
But the amount of negative ads in the Senate race has turned Brann a little bit off from Gideon, too. She said both parties have inundated voters to the point where “you don’t know what to believe” now. She likes independent candidate Lisa Savage, a progressive whom she said has been “quite impressive” in debates so far.
But Brann does not want to use ranked-choice voting, something Savage has been encouraging her supporters to consider, so she is trying to decide between the frontrunners.
The Bangor Daily News is following undecided voters ahead of the 2020 election. Read more about the project here. This series was produced with support from a grant from the American Press Institute.