Maine Republican Senator Susan Collins, Who Distanced Herself From Trump, Defeats Democrat Sara Gideon

Maine Republican Senator Susan Collins has retained her seat in the upper chamber of Congress, according to the Associated Press.

Collins is on course to receive about 50 percent of the vote compared to about 42 percent for Democrat Sara Gideon.

The Republican, who was first elected to the Senate in 1996, had been tipped to lose her seat to Gideon ahead of Election Day. Survey results had consistently put Gideon, speaker of the Maine House of Representatives, in the lead.

Emerson College polling from the state, conducted among 611 likely voters October 29 to 31, had Gideon in the lead by six points ahead of the vote, at 48 percent to 42 percent.

Gideon also out-fundraised Collins, having accumulated around $69 million compared to the Republican's $25 million by mid-October.

The race for the seat in Maine was labeled the most negative for the U.S. Senate in 2020, according to the Wesleyan Media Project, due to the number of attack ads. Each candidate accused the other of having run misleading ads in the campaign.

While Collins trailed in polling, some results did show a tightening after her vote against the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, a decision that might have boosted her support.

But she had previously faced backlash voting to confirm Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Gideon had used the latter as a point to target Collins on during the race.

Collins' vote against Barrett prompted a backlash from Trump, who branded her "not worth the work."

Trump and Collins had clashed before. She voted against the American Health Care Act and also said she would not be voting for Trump in 2016. She also declined to express support for him in 2020.

In a debate with Gideon, Collins said she was "not going to get involved in the presidential campaign."

Collins posted a photo to social media which appeared to blur out a Trump campaign sign, despite him having endorsed her re-election campaign.

Earlier in 2020, Collins was ranked for the seventh year running as the most bipartisan U.S. Senator in a study by the Lugar Center and The McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University.

"I have long believed that Congress produces the best legislation when it incorporates the ideas of both Republicans and Democrats," she said previously.

Gideon's campaign ran on a platform of "putting Maine first."

Detailing her choice to run, Gideon's website said "she believes too many politicians in Washington are focused more on the special interests than the interests of the people they're supposed to represent."

"As she always has, in the Senate, Sara Gideon will put Maine first," her website said.

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Susan Collins peaks with State Rep. Dan Marean and his wife Linda Marean as she makes a campaign stop at Big Daddy’s North Ice Cream on October 29, 2020 in Hollis, Maine. Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images