Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) got married for the first time this weekend in her hometown of Caribou, Maine to political consultant Thomas A Daffron III in a small private ceremony. It’s her first marriage, his second.

As my recent profile of the groom reveals, Collins, 59, and Daffron, 73, have known each other for a very long time. It was Daffron who hired Collins to her first job when he was chief of staff to then Rep. (and future Senator and Defense Secretary) William Cohen (R-Maine) and she was a 21 year old college senior. In the decades since, he’s been her mentor (as she rose through Cohen’s staff and learned the ways of the Senate from the inside), her political consultant (in her runs for governor and senate), and friend.

If it wasn’t for Daffron, perhaps Collins would never have made it to the Senate. After all, he was the one who found her internship application in a pile forgotten in a desk drawer in Cohen’s office in 1974. As one former staffer told me, Daffron helped a great many Maine politicos get their start; perhaps its fitting that he’s marrying the one who achieved the most.

Colin Woodard

Colin Woodard is the author of six books, including American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America and Union: The Struggle to Forge the Story of United States Nationhood. He is a senior visiting fellow at the Pell Center for International Relations and Public Policy at Salve Regina University.