WASHINGTON — This week, we’re taking a look at an important Senate race in Maine, where 23-year Republican incumbent Susan Collins is facing a serious challenge from Democrat Sara Gideon.
Gideon, who is favored to win the Democratic primary on Tuesday, is drawing support from Maine’s 10,000-15,000 Jews and from national political Jewish organizations — and not just because she is married to a Jewish lawyer.
In a new story, I outline four big reasons why Collins has lost her luster for centrist Jews and why Gideon is getting their support. They range from Collins’ support for President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court picks to Gideon’s uncontroversial views on Israel to the fact that any seat vulnerable to being flipped is getting a full-court press this year.
“She had really good votes, we met with her, we had a good relationship with her, she was pro-choice, but after she chose to support those two Supreme Court nominees, to us it was clear that she was no longer in our corner and that she was no longer pro-choice,” a representative of a Midwestern Jewish political action committee told me about Collins.
The progressive J Street PAC is working to spend $300,000 to support Gideon as part of a massive push to elect Democratic senators.
“Without winning those [seats] you’ve really got a hard path to transforming the Senate — which is one of our top electoral priorities besides defeating Donald Trump by electing Joe Biden — transforming the Senate to make sure that we have a pro-Israel, pro-peace majority,” Ilya Braverman, J Street’s national political director, told me.
No one I spoke to could say whether Gideon is involved in Maine’s small Jewish community. But one Jewish colleague from the Maine House told me her outlook reflects that advanced by progressive Jewish activists: “She brings forward liberal progressive ideas and repairing-the-world ideas.”
Read my whole rundown on Maine’s Senate race here.