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New Report Calls Maine 2020 Senate Race A 'Toss-Up'

Alex Brandon

The non-partisan Cook Report, which analyzes political contests across the nation has changed its take on the 2020 Maine U.S. Senate election from “leaning Republican” to a “toss-up.”

The report cites several polls in the last few months that indicate incumbent Republican Sen. Susan Collins has lost ground with Maine voters. Collins has won by double digit margins in past Senate elections, except for her first race in 1996 when she won by just five points over former Democratic Gov. Joe Brennan.

Collins has lost support from some women because of her vote to confirm conservative Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. She also has been scrutinized for not being forceful enough in her criticism of President Trump.

The Cook Report also says that Maine House Speaker Sara Gideon is raising the money needed to challenge Collins. But it ignores the fact that Gideon faces three announced challengers in a Democratic primary, and that Maine’s ranked-choice voting system makes it harder to predict the outcome of a primary.

There are other non-partisan political websites, including Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball, that still view the Maine Senate race as “leaning Republican.”

Originally published 5:00 p.m. August 16, 2019

Journalist Mal Leary spearheads Maine Public's news coverage of politics and government and is based at the State House.