Gizzi: How Outdoor Sports Writer Helped Maine’s Sen. Collins Pull Off Upset of the Year

Gizzi: How Outdoor Sports Writer Helped Maine’s Sen. Collins Pull Off Upset of the Year

Abandoned by former allies on the left such as Planned Parenthood, dismissed by pundits and pollsters as a sure loser, Maine’s Republican Sen. Susan Collins pulled off what many conclude is the biggest upset of 2020 by winning reelection.

Sources from Maine who spoke to Newsmax agreed that Collins’ final come-from-behind push was the result of two powerful radio commercials by Bill Green, an outdoor sports writer whose familiar presence on local TV places him above politics. 

Following the most expensive Senate race in Maine history, near-final results from the Associated Press showed four-termer Collins with 51.1% to 42.3% for Democrat Sara Gideon. 

With many past supporters abandoning the centrist Collins for her vote to confirm Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanagh in 2018, state House Speaker Sara Gideon raised a record $39 million in one quarter alone. 

Overall, at least $100 million was spent by both sides in the race — by far the most ever spent on any race in Maine history.

For her part, Collins never backed away from any votes she cast and, sources say, she might have assuaged liberal animosity by her iconic vote as the lone Senate Republican to oppose Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett.

In the final week of the campaign, former Rep. Jim Longley, R-Me. told Newsmax, “Bill Green’s radio and TV spots, and very recognizable voice, turned Gideon’s entire ‘replace Susan Collins’ campaign on its nose with the theme, ‘But how do you replace Susan Collins?’” 

According to Longley, “Bill listed everything Collin’s has done to support Maine’s BIW and Aegis ships, the Portsmouth shipyard, small businesses, paycheck protection, road and highway funding, etc., and ended by suggesting that she was in line for the Chairmanship of Senate Appropriations — ‘the most powerful committee in the Congress”.  And, again, “How do you replace Susan Collins?’ It was a brilliant form of political jiu-jitsu.” 

Green also did a similar TV spot focused on Gideon being a millionaire from Rhode Island.

“It also didn’t hurt that other ads picked up on Gideon’s attacks on Susan’s legislative accomplishment, the Payroll Protection Program, by pointing out that Gideon’s husband’s law firm had received $1 million in paycheck protection money,” he said. “This all in the midst of  a clear level of dishonesty and over-the-top vitriol in liberal attack ads suggesting that ‘Susan had changed,’ that she had been corrupted by Washington.”

The campaign that has to be dubbed brilliant, that helped Collins pull off one of the biggest upsets anywhere, also means that, having secured a fifth term, she will now eclipse her political heroine, Margaret Chase Smith, as Maine’s longest-serving U.S. Senator. 

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.

© 2020 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

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