Crowdsourcing effort raised millions in support of Sen. Collins’ future opponent

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Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME)  (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

An unknown, future Democratic Senate candidate in Maine has already received millions for his or her 2020 campaign.

As of Tuesday afternoon, a crowdsourcing effort to raise money against Sen. Susan Collins’ (R- Maine) 2020 reelection raised more than $3.6 million for a yet-to-be-determined Democratic challenger.

The fundraising campaign was started to pressure Collins to vote against the contentious confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. He was officially confirmed to the Court by the full Senate on Saturday after weeks of controversy spurred by sexual assault allegations against the judge.

Collins, who remained publicly undecided until Friday afternoon, voted in favor of Kavanaugh. As a moderate Republican, she was considered a swing vote thanks to her history of supporting pro-choice issues and receiving funds from pro-choice groups.

The campaign was created in August by Be A Hero Team, Maine People’s Alliance and Mainers for Accountable Leadership on Crowdpac, a fundraising platform. In September, Collins accused the effort of bribery and bullying.

Before the confirmation vote for Kavanaugh, the organizers said they would give the campaign’s pledges back to the donors if Collins voted no.

“Senator Collins betrayed the public trust when she voted in favor of Kavanaugh’s confirmation,” the groups said on Crowdpac. “The people of Maine have been clear with you, Senator Collins: the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court Justice is a threat to all Mainers.”

While the 2020 race is two years away, the future Democratic candidate already has more campaign funding than Collins.

So far, Collins has $1.3 million on hand for her 2020 reelection. In past campaigns, Collins consistently outraised her opponents and easily won the elections. Since her election in 1996, she’s increasingly raised more funds and won a higher percentage of the vote.

In 1996, she was first elected as senator after raising $1.7 million and winning 49 percent of the vote. The Democratic candidate, Joseph Brennan, raised $978,848.

Collins won her re-election in 2002 with 58 percent of the vote in the general election, raising $4.2 million compared to her opponent Chellie Pingree’s $3.8 million.

In 2008, she won with 60 percent of the vote and raised $8 million, over $2 million more than her Democratic challenger, Tom Allen. The pattern repeated in 2014, Collins won 68 percent of the vote and raised $6 million, while the Democratic candidate — Sheena Bellows — raised $2.3 million.

Over 120,000 people have donated to the future opposition’s 2020 campaign, and people are continuing to donate as of Tuesday afternoon. The effort’s new fundraising goal is $4 million.

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