Prominent Maine Republican lays out the reasons why she won’t be supporting Susan Collins in 2020: ‘The GOP left me’
In Maine, Jane Calderwood has a long history of supporting moderate Republicans: she served as chief of staff to former Sen. Olympia Snowe and later endorsed Sen. Susan Collins, who is fighting a tough battle for reelection and has trailed her Democratic opponent, Maine House Speaker Sara Gideon, in recent polls. But Calderwood, in an op-ed for Maine’s SeaCoastOnline.com website, explains why she won’t be supporting Collins this time.
“For nearly 20 years, I proudly worked for Sen. Olympia Snowe in the House and the Senate,” Calderwood notes. “Like my former boss, I have always formed my views and opinions based on the individual issue and the facts — not the person or party pushing the issue…. Sadly, I can no longer support Sen. Susan Collins.”
In 2008 and 2014, Collins was reelected by double-digit landslides and was among the most popular senators in New England. But that was before Donald Trump’s presidency. Although Collins has said that she didn’t vote for Trump in 2016, she has been widely criticized for being afraid to openly criticize him — a view that Calderwood shares.
Calderwood says of Collins, “She has proven unwilling to stand up to the president and too enamored of political power to speak up for the good people of Maine. I am tired of hearing about how ‘concerned’ she is. These times demand strength and action and she has shown neither.”
Snowe’s former chief of staff stresses that although she was a Republican for many years, she was driven out of the GOP by extremists.
“Trump chose the Republican Party because there was an open slot — not because he possessed any strong belief in the party and its policy goals,” Calderwood writes. “So, reluctantly, I changed my party registration, not because I wanted to leave my party. But when they nominated Trump to represent the Republicans as their presidential candidate, the GOP left me.”
Calderwood points out that she has been active in the conservative anti-Trump group, the Lincoln Project.
“I said ‘yes’ when I was invited to join the Lincoln Project’s Lincoln Women Coalition,” Calderwood notes. “We are a group of current and former Republican women who are fed up with the civil unrest, blatant misogyny and failed leadership of Donald Trump over the last four years. It is not because we disagree with Trump on one issue or three, it is because his entire approach to governing is inflicting harm on our nation. His unwillingness or inability — I’m not sure which — to address the COVID-19 pandemic is unbelievable and unforgivable.”
Collins was reelected by 16% in 2002, by 23% in 2008 and by 37% in 2014. But in 2020, her quest for reelection has been much more difficult. A recent Bangor Daily News poll found Collins trailing Gideon by 5%. Other recent polls have found Gideon ahead by 7% (RMG Group) or 4% (Quinnipiac).