Susan Collins Keeps Her Senate Seat, Staves Off Democrat Sara Gideon

Republican Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, speaks on Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020, in Bangor, Main
Robert F. Bukaty/AP Photo

Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) defeated Maine House Speaker Sara Gideon (D) in a consequential race for Republicans as they fight to retain the U.S. Senate majority in the 2020 election.

Collins, a 24-year incumbent and the Senate’s longest-sitting Republican woman, announced her reelection victory from a hotel in Bangor at 1:00 p.m. Wednesday, saying Gideon had just called her to concede.

“I have news to report to you. I just received a very gracious call from Sara Gideon conceding the race,” Collins said. “I want to publicly thank Sara for her call. We had a good talk, and I very much appreciated her taking the time to call.”

Collins discussed her campaign experience, saying she visited 80 communities in the state’s 16 counties during her recent tour. She said, “I feel that this has been affirmation of the work that I’m doing in Washington to fight hard every day for the people of Maine.”

Collins throughout her campaign highlighted her role in supporting Maine workers through crafting the federal Paycheck Protection Program, which ended up fueling Maine’s small businesses with more than $2 billion in forgivable loans amid the coronavirus economic crash earlier this year.

“Let me say what an extraordinary honor it is to represent the great state of Maine and to know that I will have the opportunity to serve all of Maine for the next six years,” Collins continued during her victory speech. “Thank you, thank you. I will serve you with all my heart.”

BANGOR, ME - NOVEMBER 04: Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) makes her way back to her campaign bus after announcing her competitor Sara Gideon called to concede on November 4, 2020 in Bangor, Maine. Collins won the Maine Senate race for her fifth term after beating Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Sara Gideon. (Photo by Scott Eisen/Getty Images)

Sen. Susan Collins makes her way back to her campaign bus after announcing her competitor Sara Gideon called to concede on November 4, 2020, in Bangor, Maine. (Scott Eisen/Getty Images)

Collins, a Maine native born and raised in Caribou in the northern part of the state, had spoken excitedly to a crowd of supporters last night around midnight as results appeared more encouraging for her, identifying precincts she had carried including Wells, Sanford, Lewiston, Auburn, Standish, and her hometown of Caribou.

Gideon, who moved from Rhode Island to Freeport in the southern metropolitan region of Maine in 2004, held a majority in more left-leaning coastal precincts such as York, Kennebunk, Cumberland, Scarborough, Portland, and her own town of Freeport.

The win comes after the two candidates combined raised at least $96.6 million, per the Federal Election Commission, with at least an additional $92.1 million in outside spending — the majority of which went toward negative campaign ads — resulting in Maine’s most expensive election yet.

Gideon raised eyebrows after reporting an astounding $39.4 million in the third quarter to Collins’ $8.3 million and quadrupling Collins’ total cash on hand, $20.7 million to $4.4 million. Despite the massive fundraising disparity, Collins lingered steadily behind in polls by only a few points and often within the margin of error.

In terms of polls, Collins ended up outperforming all of them. Her win defied the results of every poll listed on RealClearPolitics, as well as FiveThirtyEight’s projection, which showed Gideon was “slightly favored” to win by a two percent margin.

Gideon’s campaign was shaken in recent months after reports resurfaced of the House speaker mishandling a sexual misconduct allegation against one of her Democrat members after it had been brought to her attention at least as early as spring 2018.

Breitbart News spoke with several individuals familiar with the matter, who pointed to her inaction early on in 2018 and also her lack of consideration for due process. A debate moderator asked Gideon point-blank about the issue in her final debate with Collins, and Gideon was unable to provide a direct answer.

Gideon, whose term limit in the state legislature is up this year, also pursued her Senate bid potentially to the detriment of the Maine House, in which state Republicans in this election saw a net gain of 11, giving them 67 of the House’s 151 seats.

Executive Director of the Maine Republican Party Jason Savage told Breitbart News, “Sara Gideon ran off to run for U.S. Senate and didn’t do her job in the legislature. She lost 11 seats while she was getting nothing done. She sucked up a lot of donations from Democratic donors that could’ve gone to winning seats in the legislature, but it all went to her so she could blow it on negative ads.”

Savage suggested her campaign “actually energized people to vote against her and against her party — because she was so negative.”

Gideon released a statement shortly after Collins’ victory speech, saying she was proud of the campaign she had run:

In another gain for Republicans, President Donald Trump picked up one electoral vote in Maine’s battleground Second District. Recent polls slightly favored Biden in the vast, rural district, but Republicans remained optimistic in part because Trump had won it by a wide margin of ten points in 2016.

Write to Ashley Oliver at


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