Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) is one of a handful of vulnerable Republican lawmakers in the upper chamber and in a recent interview, Collins said that she thought about running as an Independent.
Collins told The New York Times that running as an Independent “crossed my mind” but said that she could not abandon “the New England brand of Republicanism.”
The Maine lawmaker has become a unique figure in the Trump era, she is the only Republican senator in New England.
Collins has voted in line with Trump only 67.5% of the time, according to FiveThirtyEight — a figure that means that she has voted with Trump less than any other Republican senator.
Collins’ opponent in the Senate race is Sara Gideon the speaker of Maine’s State House. Gideon is consistently polling above Collins. RealClearPolitics gives her a 4.2 point lead in aggregated polls. But the race is still expected to be tight and the Cook Political Report has labeled it as a “toss-up.”
Independent senators have found success in New England — both of the Independent U.S. senators in the upper chamber are from the Northeast. But both of those legislators, Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Angus King (I-Maine), caucus with Democrats.
Collins has made a number of moves in the presidential season that have distanced her from President Donald Trump. She said over the summer that she would not campaign against Democratic nominee Joe Biden, saying, “I do not campaign against my colleagues in the Senate.” Collins and Biden served together in the Senate before Biden became vice president.
While Collins has not been eager to get behind Trump, she has not caught the ire of the president like some of her other colleagues in the Senate such as Sens. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) and Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) who have spoken out against the president.