Ahead of Friday’s debate in the Maine Senate race, between incumbent GOP Senator Susan Collins and Maine House Speaker Sara Gideon, the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) warned voters not to “gamble on Gideon.” The GOP’s Senate arm notes that Gideon adjourned the state legislature for 150 days during the COVID-19 pandemic, while Sen. Collins was in Washington crafting the Coronavirus, Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act and Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).
Both relief programs acted as economic lifelines to Americans during COVID-19. Senate Republicans attempted to pass additional funding for the programs on Thursday, but Democrats blocked the relief package; Gideon said that she would have joined Senate Democrats in voting against economic relief for Americans.
Sara Gideon would have voted against providing Mainers with essential COVID relief while Susan Collins is literally responsible for the creation of the Paycheck Protection Program, which saved countless jobs in ME #mepolitics https://t.co/Y4YSY7UoLg— Jesse Hunt (@JJHunt10) September 10, 2020
The ad also points to Gideon having reportedly turned a blind eye to child sexual abuse allegations against a Democrat in Maine’s state legislature. Former Rep. Dillon Bates was hit with multiple allegations of preying on underage girls, while teaching at a private school in Maine. The claims became public knowledge in August of 2018, upon which Gideon called for a probe and Bates’ resignation, but Gideon became aware of the claims 6 months earlier. A probe from Gideon's state legislature into Bates' conduct never actually occurred. While sitting on knowledge of misconduct claims against a colleague, Gideon launched her Senate campaign on being a champion for the #MeToo movement and victims of sex crimes.
"Mainers can't risk gambling on Gideon," said NRSC spokesperson Nathan Brand. "When Maine families needed leadership, Gideon could not be trusted to show up to do her job. Rather than addressing the economic crisis and pandemic, or doing anything about an alleged sexual predator in her caucus, Gideon folded and Mainers lost."
Gideon skipped nearly every primary debate, which drew criticism from progressive primary challengers. Friday’s general election debate will be the first time that Collins and Gideon share a debate stage, after the GOP incumbent challenged Gideon to a series of 16 debates.