On Tuesday, Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) appeared on “PBS NewsHour” with host Judy Woodruff. Among the topics discussed during Collins’ time on the show was whether or not she would endorse President Trump in the 2020 election.
WOODRUFF: Senator, we’re seeing a large number of Democrats express interest in running for president in 2020; we are even hearing conversation from Republicans who may be thinking about challenging President Trump for the nomination. Are you, at this point, prepared to endorse President Trump?
COLLINS: I’m really focused on my own campaign for 2020, and I really haven’t focused on the presidential campaign. So, I’m not prepared at this point to make that decision.
WOODRUFF: But do you expect at some point between now and November of 2020 to endorse the president, since you’re a Republican?
COLLINS: I don’t know. I’m going to have to see what happens between now and then, and look at what his record is. I can’t imagine that I would endorse any of the Democrats who are running right now, but I’m gonna focus on 2020 in 2020.
WOODRUFF: But you’re leaving the door open to perhaps supporting another Republican?
COLLINS: Well, I’m just not focused on it, Judy, right now. So, I’m neither ruling it in nor ruling it out.
In an August 2016 piece for The Washington Post, Collins not only refused to endorse then-candidate Trump, but also said she would not vote for him in the presidential election.
“Donald Trump does not reflect historical Republican values nor the inclusive approach to governing that is critical to healing the divisions in our country,” she stated.
While Collins offered numerous reasons as to why she decided against endorsing Trump, she listed three primary incidents that stood out as particularly egregious: first, his alleged mocking of disabled reporter Serge Kovaleski; second, his statement questioning the impartiality of Judge Gonzalo Curiel; third, his “criticism” of the Khan family.
“My conclusion about Mr. Trump’s unsuitability for office is based on his disregard for the precept of treating others with respect, an idea that should transcend politics,” Collins wrote. “Instead, he opts to mock the vulnerable and inflame prejudices by attacking ethnic and religious minorities.”
Collins could be facing a difficult re-election campaign in 2020. In October, after the senator voted to confirm Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court following a contentious confirmation process, Democrats began talking about would-be challengers.
A CrowdPAC campaign started by Maine People’s Alliance, Mainers for Accountable Leadership, and the Be A Hero Team has raised $3.7 million as of publication to be given to whomever challenges Collins in 2020.
The statement on CrowdPAC reads in part:
For failing to stand up for the people of Maine and ignoring the voices of your constituents, and for endangering the lives of millions of Americans, we will work to elect a new senator to represent the State of Maine.
Every dollar donated to this campaign will be used to fund your eventual Democratic opponent in 2020. Mainers deserve a senator who will fight for a country that works for all of us.
In 2008 and 2016, Collins routed her Democratic opponents by 22.7% and 36.2%, respectively. In 2014, Collins received over $6.2 million in campaign contributions compared to her Democratic challenger, Shenna Bellows, who raised just $2.3 million, according to Open Secrets.