Even before Sen. Susan Collins announced how she would vote on the Kavanaugh confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court, dozens of people were gathering in Lobstermen Square in downtown Portland across the street from her office.
They've been protesting for weeks, often taking to bullhorns to share personal stories of sexual assault. Protestors wrote letters and made calls to Collins' office. They arranged impromptu sit-ins. And while many say Collins' decision came as no-surprise, protestors say it will encourage them to work harder to defeat the Senator if she runs again.
People gathered in the square around laptops and cell phones to listen to Senator Collins offer her justification for Kavanaugh's confirmation, occasionally interrupting with their own commentary. And after speaking for more than 45 minutes, Collins made her decision clear.
"Mr. President, I will vote to confirm Judge Kavanaugh,” Collins said on the Senate floor.
Solange Kellerman of Portland said she was not surprised with the announcement, but was disappointed that Collins never addressed what she says is a key point.
"She went on for 55 minutes of civics lesson and a love fest, and she never once addressed that this is a hiring process, and she never talked about his rage,” Kellerman said. “If someone walked into her office and had that kind of hysteria, she wouldn't offer that person a job, she would ask for a time out and if they needed help."
"We have two million dollars pledged to Democratic opponents of Senator Collins!” Speaking to a crowd after Collins' speech, Marie Follayttar of the group Mainers' For Accountable Leadership said the vote on Kavanaugh is already being used to mobilize financial support for a Democrat to challenge Collins, if she decides to run when she's up for reelection in 2020.
"We tried to get Senator Collins to be a hero,” said Follayttar. “She had her chance. So we're voting her out. Taking back our country."
Follayttar also said that while Judge Kavanaugh may get confirmed this weekend, but the work of protesters is just beginning.