WATERVILLE — For the first time since she won a U.S. Senate seat in 1996, Maine Republican Susan Collins is likely to face a challenge next year from within the ranks of the GOP.

Derek Levasseur, 44, who runs a small construction company in Fairfield, said Tuesday that Collins has lost touch with ordinary Mainers and will have a tough time convincing Republicans she deserves a fifth term.

Derek Levasseur, a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in the 2020 election in Maine. Courtesy photo

The challenger said Collins is “a great person” but has forgotten the constitutional values ordinary Mainers hold dear.

Calling himself “a common man with common sense,” Levasseur said Collins has not stood by President Trump on key issues such as border security and gun rights.

During an interview, Levasseur said he has a popular blog and a growing base of support that he insists has Collins worried.

“Who is she trying to represent? Not Republicans!” he wrote on Facebook recently. “It is time to fight for conservative values!”

Collins has not officially declared her 2020 candidacy, but by the end of March, she had raised $3.8 million for her campaign.

Levasseur, who serves on the Republican State Committee, is raising money, rounding up volunteers and insisted he will appear on the June 2020 primary ballot as a serious contender.

Though some on the right and left have expressed concern about Collins, she appears to be holding her own among Maine voters.

Pan Atlantic Research of Portland’s annual spring poll found 62 percent of Mainers have a very or somewhat favorable view of her, compared to 37 percent who do not.

A quarter of Maine voters said they would definitely support Collins in her re-election bid, and another 40 percent said they would consider voting for her.

The results, though, do not give any indication of how Maine’s senior senator stands among her own party’s ranks. Levasseur said he thinks she has slipped badly because she has avoided town halls, refused to endorse Trump and failed to keep her promise to serve only two six-year terms.

Levasseur said he opposes abortion but generally shares many of Collins’ views on social issues.

There is only one Democrat active in the race so far: Saco lawyer Bre Kidman. But several more prominent Democrats are weighing whether to run, including ex-Lewiston Mayor James Howaniec and House Speaker Sara Gideon of Freeport.