Maine House Speaker Sara Gideon won Maine’s Democratic Senate nomination in a landslide on Tuesday, cementing her spot in the highly anticipated contest against Republican incumbent Sen. Susan Collins, reported The Associated Press.
Gideon handily beat two progressive candidates ― former Maine gubernatorial candidate Betsy Sweet and attorney Bre Kidman ― to win the party’s nomination.
“This campaign is about all of us, and about how we can build a stronger future together,” Gideon said during a livestream address on Facebook following her win Tuesday.
“If we are going to come together and make real progress to improve the lives of people here in Maine and across the country, then we need new leadership,” she added. “Because, after 24 years in Washington, Sen. Collins has become part of that broken system, putting special interests and her political party first.”
Collins ran uncontested in the Republican primary on Tuesday. Several independent candidates, including Max Linn and Lisa Savage, will likely be on the November ballot alongside Collins and Gideon.
The four-term senator is facing her toughest reelection bid yet. Though she easily won her last three races, her voting record under President Donald Trump has outraged and mobilized Democratic voters across the state.
Collins has historically positioned herself as a moderate, but her critical votes supporting Trump’s tax bill, confirming Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court and acquitting the president during his impeachment trial sparked intense backlash from many constituents. Though Collins has called herself “pro-choice,” she has voted to confirm dozens of judges who have signaled they oppose abortion.
Winning Collins’ seat in November is key for Democrats to gain control of the Senate. With the party’s nomination in hand, Gideon will nab roughly $4 million in crowdfunded donations raised for Collins’ challenger during the Senate debate over Kavanaugh’s confirmation.
As of last month, Gideon’s campaign has already raked in over $23 million in donations, outpacing Collins by roughly $7 million this election cycle, reported The Bangor Daily News.
Gideon, a 48-year-old mother of three, has served in Maine’s House of Representatives since 2012. Her legislative tenure has focused on boosting the state’s economy, tackling the opioid crisis, investing in sustainable energy and increasing access to universal health care.
Gideon won the backing of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee early on in the race as well as key endorsements from EMILY’s List, NARAL Pro-Choice America and Planned Parenthood.
“Sen. Collins has changed, and Mainers deserve better,” Gideon said in her speech Tuesday night. “Mainers deserve a senator who will bring people together to overcome the challenges we face and deliver real results. That’s what I’ve always worked to do.”