Motivated by Donald Trump’s 2016 victory, Democratic activists throughout the country have targeted dozens of congressional Republicans for defeat, 32 of whom lost their jobs in the 2018 midterms. But heading into 2020, nobody has caught Democrats’ attention quite like Sen. Susan Collins of Maine.
When Collins announced that she would vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, money came flowing in for her 2020 Democratic opponent — who, at the time, did not exist. Only in the last few months have credible Democratic contenders started to pop up, but it’s not yet clear if the national outrage about Collins’ Supreme Court vote has had a devastating effect on her standing within Maine’s borders.
Major Democratic groups have largely consolidated around state House Speaker Sara Gideon, but she still faces a primary against Betsy Sweet, a self-styled progressive who’s run for statewide office before. But even if Democrats have recruited a star candidate, that hasn’t been enough to oust Collins in the past. In election cycles that have been crushing for Republicans across the country, Collins has glided to victory with margins in the double digits. That’s why Republicans need her to run for re-election again.
Collins’ past success is particularly troubling for Democrats, given that Maine is a key step in their path to the Senate majority. In the event that Democratic Sen. Doug Jones loses his race in Alabama, the party will need to pick up five seats for a…