Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, could possibly be amongst probably the most influential lawmakers when the subsequent Congress convenes in January — with Senate Republicans holding a 52-48 majority at finest.
Collins’ place of prominence wasn’t sure. Polling earlier than the election confirmed Democrats with a great probability of taking management of the Senate and polling confirmed her campaigning from behind towards her Democratic opponent, Sara Gideon, Maine’s Home speaker, who outspent her.
However Democrats’ hopes for a blue wave crashed and Collins handily received her race by 9 factors, a bigger win than even she anticipated.
“I used to be very gratified that the margin was so huge — that folks have been ready to have a look at the person,” she informed Politico. “They have been good sufficient to reject the outright lies that Chuck Schumer and his PAC have hoisted.”
Quickly after her win, an outdated colleague, President-elect Joe Biden, known as.
She and Biden “have a long-standing relationship that goes again a few years and we labored on points collectively within the Senate in addition to when he was vice chairman,” she informed Politico.
Collins mentioned she provides “nice latitude to presidents in selecting their Cupboards” and believes Biden ought to basically be capable to get his decisions by. Nonetheless, she mentioned she just isn’t an automated sure and should vote towards a nominee who’s out of the mainstream.
“She’s form of like Sandra Day O’Connor on the Supreme Court docket,” Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, mentioned. “You’re going to should work for it to influence her.”
Collins has acquired calls from at the very least eight Democratic senators to this point, together with fellow average Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., who needs extra bipartisanship. The 2 co-chair a gaggle known as No Labels with bipartisanship because the purpose.
“These have been by and huge my associates. It wasn’t Chuck Schumer calling me, let’s put it that method,” Collins mentioned. “A few of them informed me frankly that they’d been instructed by Chuck to not co-sponsor my payments, not work with me to advance laws. Now, a few of them adopted that instruction from him however some didn’t.”
Collins’ pleasant working relationship with Biden is nearer than with President Trump whom she hardly ever speaks to, though she does discuss with White Home officers, in line with Politico.
Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., who endorsed Biden for president, additionally famous that the president-elect has a knack for working throughout the aisle.
“He wasn’t simply associates or working with individuals who is likely to be closest,” Coons mentioned of Biden’s Senate profession. “So keep in mind, he found out how you can work with Jesse Helms,” a conservative former senator from North Carolina. “Having Sen. Collins right here and a part of conversations goes to be important and constructive.”
Collins is already pushing for an additional coronavirus help invoice that has stalled and she or he says can’t wait till the subsequent Congress.
“You’re speaking about Jan. 5. And that’s method too lengthy,” she informed Politico. “And I acknowledge that unemployment has ticked down considerably. I’m glad to see it however I don’t see that as being an enduring phenomenon. And positively, the general public well being penalties of this pandemic preserve getting worse.”
Democrats have an opportunity to take the bulk with Georgia’s two January Senate runoffs, however historical past isn’t on their aspect. If Democrats did win the bulk, it might be a 50-50 cut up with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris breaking ties.