Examining Sen. Collins’ fifth term influence, COA professor weighs-in

Sen. Susan Collins is poised to serve a fifth term in the Senate after declaring victory over Democratic challenger Sarah Gideon Wednesday. Many political observers believe Collins’ win means she will have even more influence in the Senate. Her victory creates a difficult path for Democrats to gain a majority. Sen. Collins is widely expected to lead or become a ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, which directs federal funding. Jamie McKown, professor at the College of the Atlantic and an expert in presidential politics, says if Republicans maintain a majority of the Senate, Senator Collins might actually have the most influence under a Biden administration. “Biden is going to need some dealmakers. He’s going to need a centrist coalition around Republicans who are willing to cross the aisle,” said McKown. In many Maine precincts, Collins performed several points better than President Trump. McKown believes many Mainers voted for a split ticket, for Collins and Biden, because they see possible benefits for Maine. “Military defense contracts or if it is particular aid packages for small businesses or particular subsidies. As much as all politicians complain about pork, it’s not pork if it’s coming back to your town, right,” McKown said. Collins’ fifth term will follow the most expensive race in Maine history. The senator was significantly outspent by outside groups hoping to flip the seat in favor of Democratic House Speaker Sarah Gideon who conceded today. McKown floated the possibility Collins’ success may have been aided, in part, by term limits in the state legislature meaning an opponent, in this case Gideon, might have less name recognition due to fewer years served. “Is it almost an unfair fight in a way because Susan Collins has been in that position to do all of that for a long period of time,” said McKown. Collins said in Bangor today one of the first congratulatory phone calls she received was from Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, who asked her about ironing out an agreement for more COVID-19 relief.

Sen. Susan Collins is poised to serve a fifth term in the Senate after declaring victory over Democratic challenger Sarah Gideon Wednesday.

Many political observers believe Collins’ win means she will have even more influence in the Senate.

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Her victory creates a difficult path for Democrats to gain a majority.

Sen. Collins is widely expected to lead or become a ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, which directs federal funding.

Jamie McKown, professor at the College of the Atlantic and an expert in presidential politics, says if Republicans maintain a majority of the Senate, Senator Collins might actually have the most influence under a Biden administration.

“Biden is going to need some dealmakers. He’s going to need a centrist coalition around Republicans who are willing to cross the aisle,” said McKown.

In many Maine precincts, Collins performed several points better than President Trump.

McKown believes many Mainers voted for a split ticket, for Collins and Biden, because they see possible benefits for Maine.

“Military defense contracts or if it is particular aid packages for small businesses or particular subsidies. As much as all politicians complain about pork, it’s not pork if it’s coming back to your town, right,” McKown said.

Collins’ fifth term will follow the most expensive race in Maine history. The senator was significantly outspent by outside groups hoping to flip the seat in favor of Democratic House Speaker Sarah Gideon who conceded today.

McKown floated the possibility Collins’ success may have been aided, in part, by term limits in the state legislature meaning an opponent, in this case Gideon, might have less name recognition due to fewer years served.

“Is it almost an unfair fight in a way because Susan Collins has been in that position to do all of that for a long period of time,” said McKown.

Collins said in Bangor today one of the first congratulatory phone calls she received was from Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, who asked her about ironing out an agreement for more COVID-19 relief.