A new story in the Daily Beast digs into how Senator Susan Collins is tapping into “Maine’s considerable base of devoted Trump supporters” in the final stretch of the toughest campaign of her career. This reporting comes just days after coverage of Senator Collins saying she’s “truly grateful” for the endorsement of an extreme anti-choice anti-LGBTQ+ equality group.
Arthur Langley, who runs an unregistered pro-Trump group that has put up signs and run radio ads supporting Collins’ candidacy, put his support for Collins into terms of how it would benefit the president, saying, “The big question is, does the president want a Republican majority in the U.S. Senate? He’s said very clearly that he does... having Sen. Collins elected in Maine would be part of having a Republican majority.”
Langley seems to be on to something, because despite Collins spending the last 678 days refusing to disclose her support for Trump, the president has said he’s 100% behind her reelection. That’s because, as Maine GOP chair Demi Kouzounas once put it, Trump and Collins “both support each other” — Collins has voted for Trump’s agenda in the Senate 94% of the time.
The Daily Beast: MAGA Fans Tie Susan Collins to Trump Whether She Likes It or Not
By Sam Brodey
October 24, 2020
“The big question is, does the president want a Republican majority in the U.S. Senate?” Langley said. “He’s said very clearly that he does... having Sen. Collins elected in Maine would be part of having a Republican majority. It’s not a Trump majority, it’s a Republican majority.”
The local pro-Trump group responsible for the signs also ran ads on Maine talk radio, which endorsed the entire slate of GOP congressional candidates on the ballot, by framing them as needed reinforcements for Trump’s agenda—another note of music to Democrats’ ears.
“These three people are the kind of people President Trump needs in Washington,” says the ad. “Their drive and determination to work for all of Maine and America will be a great help as President Trump leads the great American comeback and works to Make America Great Again.”
Now on the ballot this year, Collins has refused to disclose who she will vote for, saying in a September debate, “I don’t think the people of Maine need my advice on whom to support for president.”
But Collins herself has made quiet outreach to corners of the party where support for Trump, and suspicion of her, are high. On Monday, Collins was interviewed by Carroll Conley, director of a right-wing religious group called the Christian Civic League of Maine, to accept the group’s endorsement. In 2016, former leaders of the league were pushing to criminalize homosexuality in Maine, and their members continue to staunchly oppose abortion and gay rights.
This conversation, however, did not go unnoticed by the groups working to defeat Collins. The Human Rights Campaign, an LGBTQ rights organization which has never opposed the senator until this year, slammed her for accepting the support of a “far-right, anti-LGBTQ group,” saying “Collins has again chosen to pander to the far-right rather than stand by the principles she professed for years.”
The senator’s courting of votes in her far-right flank, as past endorsers like the HRC abandon her, speaks to how her tried-and-true political coalition simply may be impossible to assemble in today’s Maine.