First Debate: Collins in command, Gideon stumbles

Portland, ME -- Senator Susan Collins displayed her deep knowledge, mastery of issues, and her love for her home state of Maine at the first U.S. Senate debate tonight. In stark contrast, Sara Gideon repeated memorized talking points provided by the D.C. operatives running her campaign. She also continued her track record of saying one thing, but doing another.

When Gideon was asked a question that wasn’t covered during her DC prep sessions -- whether she’d support Chief Justice Roberts’ nomination -- she stumbled. Gideon couldn’t answer, despite making Supreme Court nominations the central focus of her campaign.

The contrast between the candidates was clear tonight:

  • Speaker Gideon supports a far left agenda that’s not a good fit for all of Maine.

  • Sen. Collins has a long record of working effectively with members of both parties on behalf of Mainers.

  • Speaker Gideon supports policies that would hurt Mainers, like her proposal to create a new heating oil and gas tax, her plan to raise health care taxes and harm rural hospitals, and her plan to raise taxes on 9 of 10 Maine taxpayers.

  • Sen. Collins has a clear record of directly helping Mainers, including tax cuts for working families and providing billions in pandemic aid, as well as a deep understanding of the needs of her constituents. For example, she knows that Gideon’s new heating oil tax would deeply hurt low-income and elderly Mainers.

  • Speaker Gideon disappeared during the pandemic. She showed no leadership, and her Legislature has not convened for nearly 6 months. Gideon even “personally pledged” to “immediately” provide assistance to Maine businesses struggling with COVID - way back on April 28. She hasn’t done a thing but campaign since.

  • Senator Collins stepped up when COVID hit. She quickly got together a bipartisan coalition and helped pass a massive aid package, which included a bipartisan program she created that has pumped more than $2 billion into Maine’s economy, supporting 240,000 jobs -- and she’s still working every day to get as much aid to Maine as possible.

There is a stark difference between Speaker Gideon and Sen. Collins on policy, philosophy, and effectiveness. Those differences were made crystal clear for Maine voters tonight.

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