U.S. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine has landed on this year’s annual list of “50 Ideas Driving Politics (and the people behind them),” compiled by the Washington, D.C.-based news organization Politico.

Collins, a Republican in her fourth term, was ranked 16th on Politico’s list, sandwiched between Democratic California Congresswoman Maxine Waters and White House trade adviser Peter Navarro.

President Trump, of course, topped the list.

In the entry for Collins, titled, “Woman in the Middle,” Politico’s congressional reporter Burgess Everett wrote that the 65-year-old, “has held her pivotal place as one of the chamber’s aisle-crossing centrists for years.”

Maine Political Report



“But that role has been amplified as the Senate GOP’s majority has shrunk to just 50 working votes, and there’s more and more pressure on one of the Senate’s few swing votes to stand up to President Trump on issues like (Supreme Court Justice Brett) Kavanaugh’s confirmation.”

Indeed, Collins faces sustained pressure for her vote on Kavanaugh, Trump’s nominee to fill the Supreme Court seat vacated by Justice Anthony Kennedy. Progressive groups have been organizing rallies and encouraging constituents to contact her office. Some have sent coat hangers to her office — a nod to illegal abortion, which some fear could return if Kavanaugh is confirmed and the court’s conservative majority debates overturning the landmark 1973 ruling Roe vs. Wade.

There is even a crowdfunding effort that has eclipsed $1 million to benefit a Democratic challenger to Collins in 2020 if she votes to confirm. Collins easily won reelection in 2014 but the political landscape looks much different now and she hasn’t even said whether she’ll run again or not.

In the Politico piece, Collins affirmed what she has said for years: She’s not going to be swayed by loud noise.

“I will not try to assess the politics of it other than there will be people who are furious no matter what,” she said.

Asked to comment on Collins’ inclusion on the list, her spokeswoman, Annie Clark, said, “Along with Justin Trudeau, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Secretary Jim Mattis, Senator Collins is honored to be recognized by Politico as one of the 50 most influential people in politics.”

Even before her looming vote on Kavanaugh, Collins has been a critical Senate vote during the Trump presidency so far. She was one of three Republicans who voted last year against an effort to repeal Obamacare but also was a key vote in support of Trump’s tax cut bill.

Politico noted Collins’ diligence, saying she, “walks around with an armful of policy papers and attends as many committee hearings as she can.” She hasn’t missed a single roll call vote since she was first elected in 1996.

She also said she’s comfortable with her role.

“I’ve been very outspoken in my views when I disagree with the president,” Collins told Politico, adding that her opposition to Trump doesn’t define her. “I think it’s far more effective to be a workhorse.”

Eric Russell can be contacted at 791-6344 or at:

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