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Op-Ed

Collins vs Gideon – Let’s set the record straight!

By Patti Gagne

The 2020 U.S. Senate race in Maine is like nothing we have ever seen. For two years now, this race has been controlled by DC insiders and hedge fund billionaires who don’t have Maine’s best interest at heart.  Instead, the seat, currently occupied by Republican Susan Collins, is a pivotal pawn in their scheme to flip the Senate majority from red to blue and install New York Senator, and Yankees fan https://twitter.com/SenSchumer/status/1286786720843935746, Chuck Schumer as Majority Leader.

To achieve this goal, the Far Left knew it would have to try chipping away at Collins’ solid reputation and popularity in Maine early and often. They set up a dark money group https://bangordailynews.com/2019/07/04/news/new-group-uses-exploited-advocacy-rules-to-educate-mainers-about-sen-collins/, named Maine Momentum/16 Counties. To date, this supposed “social advocacy organization” has spent millions in tv/digital ads aimed squarely at Collins, trying to paint her as an out-of-touch, heartless politician who no longer cares about Maine. We know that’s not true. The Washington Post even rated one of this group’s ads“mostly false.” https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/08/19/dark-money-ad-claims-susan-collins-put-old-age-programs-jeopardy/. Sadly, these days, truth no longer seems to matter.

Then, Schumer had to find a candidate who would have no trouble repeating the lie, “Susan Collins is not for you anymore.”  Schumer learned his lesson in 2008 when Congressman Tom Allen refused to run a negative campaign. This time, after more well-known names like Chellie and Hannah Pingree, Jared Golden, even former UN SecretarySusan Ricepassed https://bangordailynews.com/2019/01/18/politics/democrats-arent-racing-to-run-against-susan-collins-in-2020/ on the opportunity to challenge Collins, Schumer settled on Sara Gideon, aRhode Island native https://www.golocalprov.com/politics/gideon-fundraiser-rhode-island currently serving as Speaker of the Maine House.

Following a pattern we have seen with Schumer’s hand-picked candidates in other battleground states, Gideon immediately went underground to the“windowless basement.” https://www.nationalreview.com/2019/10/chuck-schumer-windowless-basement-strategy-for-winning-back-the-senate/.  This method of campaigning restricts unscripted public appearances to avoid early mistakes and focuses solely on raising money for endless amounts of formulaic TV commercials. During the Democratic primary, Gideon did Maine voters a real disservice byrefusing to participate https://www.mainepublic.org/post/political-scientists-say-maine-candidates-could-face-consequences-skipping-debates  in nearly every live TV debate, skipping at least two to holdonline fundraisers https://maineexaminer.com/sara-gideon-skips-debate-attends-fundraiser-with-defund-the-police-billionaire/ hosted by out-of-state special interest groups.

As a result, Sara Gideon has raised https://www.pressherald.com/2020/07/16/fundraising-in-maines-u-s-senate-race-tops-41-million/ (and already spent) more money than any other candidate in Maine history. Yet, less than 90 days from the election, Mainers still know very little about Gideon’s plans for our state. It’s clear from her ads that she doesn’t like Susan Collins very much. And despite her claims of being able to bring people together, Gideon has failed https://www.centralmaine.com/2020/08/05/state-house-leaders-again-poll-lawmakers-in-attempt-to-return-to-work/ to negotiate a bipartisan agreement to bring the legislature back to work and address the economic fallout of the coronavirus crisis.

Since becoming the Democratic nominee, Gideon’s campaign has pocketed https://bangordailynews.com/2020/07/15/politics/how-sara-gideon-will-take-control-of-4m-tied-to-susan-collins-vote-for-brett-kavanaugh/ nearly $4 million from a fund established solely to influence Senator Collins’ Supreme Court vote. Collins, to her credit,refused https://www.pressherald.com/2020/07/24/gideon-campaign-collects-4-million-crowdsourced-for-collins-opponent/ to be influenced and voted her conscience.

Gideon also issued a challenge to Collins to participate in five debates. Gideon seemed genuinely surprised when Collins countered with 16, one in each of Maine’s counties, and “let’s debate tonight.” https://www.newscentermaine.com/article/news/politics/lets-debate-tonight-collins-responds-to-gideons-call-for-debates/97-359e2c22-b5c4-4bb1-bed7-0ff638b5db4e. Collins even sent Gideon a letter putting the request in writing. But, Gideon, of course, hasn’t responded to the invitation. Perhaps there’s a bad cell signal in the windowless basement?

COVID-19 has changed the way candidates can campaign. No Oxford or Fryeburg Fairs, no chicken dinners or bean suppers. Live, televised debates are more important than ever and will give all voters the chance to watch these candidates answering unscripted questions.

With just three months to go, this race has already broken every record for out-of-state fundraising and campaign spending. Unfortunately, many of the outside groups buying up our airwaves have taken a negative tone, and repeatedly, these ads, and even some ofGideon’s own ads,,https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/06/15/democratic-ad-misleadingly-attacks-susan-collins-paycheck-protection-program/  have been deemed https://www.factcheck.org/2020/07/cherry-picking-collins-prescription-drug-votes/ false. In the race to win the senate majority, Schumer and his allies have shown that they will say literally anything to achieve their goal. Facts don’t matter.

It’s time that Maine voters hear directly from both Senator Collins and Sara Gideon. When Gideon decides it’s time to emerge from her windowless basement, Susan Collins is ready to take the show on the road and let Mainers make up their own minds, free of Chuck Schumer’s slick packaging.

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