There is a case to be made that endorsements in political races don’t have much impact. But if they do, there are some strange things happening in the Maine Senate race between incumbent Republican Susan Collins and Democratic challenger Sara Gideon.
Collins is in trouble. In the poll aggregate at RealClearPolitics, Gideon is winning by 4.5 points. No single poll has shown Collins in the lead since the summer of 2019. That is probably what sparked an endorsement from Joe Lieberman this week.
It’s interesting that Lieberman began that ad by referring to himself as a “life-long Democrat” because, when he lost the Democratic primary in 2006 to Ned Lamont, he created a new party that he called “Connecticut for Lieberman” in order to remain on the ballot. Then in 2008, he endorsed the Republican candidate, John McCain, in his race against Barack Obama.
Lieberman’s endorsement probably isn’t meant to influence Democrats, but to assure Republicans and Independents that they can continue to support Collins in the era of Trump Republicanism. But even though Collins has often touted her independence from the president, her campaign has actually boasted about the fact that she voted with him 94 percent of the time.
On the other side of the coin, staff of Maine’s former Republican Senator Olympia Snowe are speaking out against Collins.
As the former spokesperson for Maine Sen. Olympia Snowe, I can tell you that @TheRickWilson is 100% right about @SenatorCollins, who seems to be way more preoccupied with how #impeachment is playing in DC than how it is playing in Portland or Bangor or Lewiston. @Morning_Joe pic.twitter.com/ONLEngHSD2
— Kurt Bardella (@kurtbardella) January 22, 2020
In addition, Snowe’s former chief of staff, Jane Calderwood, wrote an op-ed titled, “I Can No Longer Support Sen. Susan Collins.”
Sadly, I can no longer support Senator Susan Collins. She has proven unwilling to stand up to the President and too enamored of political power to speak up for the good people of Maine. I am tired of hearing about how “concerned” she is. These times demand strength and action and she has shown neither.
Snowe herself deserves some respect for getting out of politics when she felt the winds of extremism blowing through her party. But Collins stayed, and as Rep. Adam Schiff warned, she has tied her name to Trump’s “with a cord of steel and for all of history.” I can’t claim to have any inside knowledge about the voters in Maine, but they have always shown a strong streak of independence and I doubt that they have been impressed by Collins’s cowardice.