In response to an attack from members of her own party, Sen. Susan Collins is suggesting the Maine GOP should learn from her success as New England’s only Republican on Capitol Hill instead of rebuking her for voting to convict former President Donald Trump.
Dozens of members of the Maine GOP’s executive committee sent a letter to Collins to “condemn in the strongest possible terms” her vote.
Collins, one of seven Republicans who voted to convict Trump, said in response to the letter that she upheld her constitutional duty as a senator to render “impartial justice” based on the evidence and “not on my membership in a political party or any other external factor.”
The senator wrote that she beat the odds by winning reelection in a state where Trump lost the statewide vote — and noted that “unfortunately other races in Maine did not go as well.”
Democrats currently control both chambers of the state Legislature and the governorship. They also hold both of Maine's seats in the U.S. House. Maine's other senator, Angus King, is an independent who caucuses with Democrats.
“I hope that we are able to work together to improve our electoral results. Now would be a good time for us to consider how we can improve our performance in the 2022 and 2024 cycles,” she said.
The letter from the Maine GOP was posted on social media on Wednesday after county leaders met days earlier to consider whether to call a meeting of the full executive committee to rebuke the senator. Collins responded with her own letter in response late Wednesday.
It was unclear if the strongly worded letter signed by Maine GOP Chair Demi Kouzounas and about three dozen other members of the state party's 80-member executive committee marked the end of the discussion, or whether a formal censure will be pursued.
Jason Savage, the party's executive director, said that members of the party are “making their voices heard” in the aftermath of the Trump vote. “We have to find a path to move forward as party, and we will,” he said.
The Senate voted 57-43 last weekend to acquit Trump of charges of inciting an insurrection. The vote came about a month after Trump supporters breached the U.S. Capitol building, interrupting the counting of the electoral votes in the Senate chamber.
Collins is not alone in Congress in taking heat for her vote at home. The Louisiana GOP censured U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy and the Wyoming GOP censured U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney for her House vote to impeach Trump.
Collins, who's serving her fifth term, touts her willingness to reach across the aisle and break with her party. She soundly beat Democrat Sara Gideon in November in the hardest-fought contest of her career.
© Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.