Maine Sen. Susan Collins offered congratulations Monday to Joe Biden “on his apparent victory” and said both he and running mate Kamala Harris “should be given every opportunity to ensure that they are ready to govern on January 20th.”

But Collins, a Republican who was re-elected to her fifth term last week after a bruising battle with Democrat Sara Gideon, also acknowledged in a statement that President Trump and others, “have questions about the results in certain states.”

“There is a process in place to challenge those results and, consistent with that process, the president should be afforded the opportunity to do so,” she said.

Collins’ statement did not address comments made by Trump late last week that the election was “rigged,” and that only widespread voter fraud could have resulted in a Biden victory. Her office did not respond to a follow-up question. Trump’s legal team already has filed lawsuits in several states contesting the results and his campaign has pledged to keep fighting.

“I know that many are eager to have certainty right now,” Collins said. “While we have a clear direction, we should continue to respect that process. I urge people to be patient. The process has not failed our country in more than 200 years, and it is not going to fail our country this year.”

Collins’ statement comes two full days after most major news outlets called the presidential race for Biden once results were clear in the crucial battleground state of Pennsylvania.


Maine’s other members of Congress, Sen. Angus King and U.S. Reps. Chellie Pingree and Jared Golden, all congratulated Biden on Saturday.

“Congratulations to President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris – the best team to lead us through this moment,” King, an independent, said in a statement. “But we must remember that they cannot solve our problems and bridge our divisions alone; we must all come together and put the country first.”

Few prominent Republicans have acknowledged former Vice President Biden as the winner of last week’s election, in large part because President Trump has not yet conceded and they don’t want to anger the more than 70 million Americans who voted for him.

Among the Republicans who have publicly congratulated Biden are Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski and former President George W. Bush. Former Maine Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe issued a statement Sunday complimenting Biden’s victory speech Saturday and celebrating Harris, the first female vice president elect, as proof that “there are no boundaries to what is possible for all women.”

Depending on the final party breakdown in the Senate next year – two runoff elections in Georgia could decide whether Republicans retain control – Collins could become an increasingly influential vote.

Throughout her campaign, Collins reminded people about her ability to work with presidents of either party. She often diverged from Trump – although not enough for some critics – but also helped deliver him key victories during his presidency.

Collins has a strong relationship with Biden, with whom she served almost 15 years in Senate before he became vice president. She also served with Harris in the Senate for the last four years.

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