Will the Indian-American Candidate in Maine Deliver US Senate Majority to Democratic Party?

AUGUSTA, ME - JULY 3: Speaker of the House Sara Gideon talks the the press in her office at the Maine State House during the third day of the state government shutdown. Rep. Gideon said that they were not planning on budging on the lodging tax. (Staff photo by Brianna Soukup/Portland Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)
With the rising popularity of an Indian-American candidate for the U.S. Senate from Maine, Sara Gideon, against long time US Senate incumbent Susan Collins, a Republican, the odds of the Democratic Party taking back Senate Majority in November has become stronger.  The Maine Democratic Party primary is on July 14, 2020 and Gideon is expected to sail through and will face off against a formidable GOP Senator this November 3.
 
An early July poll by RealCearPolitics which called the seat a “toss-up” showed Gideon 2.5 points ahead of Collins. The Cook Political Report has also called the race a “toss-up.” A report in Forbes list Collins among the “most vulnerable” Senators.
 
The New York Times ran a telling headline on July 7th about this heated race – “Hemmed In by the Pandemic, Collins Battles for Survival in Maine.” The Times also called it “the toughest re-election race of her (Collins’) career.” Made even more so because the Republican Party’s control of the Senate rests on her win this November.
 
Currently speaker of the Maine House of Representatives, Gideon, 48, has garnered endorsements from influential groups like Emily’s List, and most recently, the Maine AFL-CIO which represents some 160 plus unions across Maine. In endorsing the Indian-American, one of the groups under the Maine AFL-CIO, The Iron Workers Local 7, tweeted, “We are proud to endorse Sara Gideon for US Senate because we’ve worked together to raise wages on construction jobs, promote worker training and apprenticeship, and build an economy that works for all us, not just the wealthy few.”
 
When the influential organization Emily’s List endorsed Gideon for the Senate seat from Maine, it described her as “A proven leader and dedicated public servant.” Gideon , the daughter of an Indian-American father and Armenian mother, has positioned herself to defeat Sen. Collins, by building a varied support base and raising millions of dollars. She is expected to sail through the July 14, Democratic primary in her state. In every re-election to her state House of Representatives since she was first elected in 2012, Gideon has garnered more than 65 percent of the popular vote.
 
The Jewish Telegraphic Agency carried a report July 9, 2020, with the headline, “Sara Gideon could flip Susan Collins’ Senate seat blue. She’s building a wide base of Jewish support to do so.”
 
Collins, a four-term incumbent, has long been seen as a moderate Republican, but some of her votes over the last year, including the support for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, and for President Trump during the impeachment trial have put her in the crosshairs of many moderates in Maine.
 
“Sara is a champion for Maine working families, and she has an outstanding record of achieving results,” Emily’s List said. “She has passed landmark legislation to help families gain financial independence, and under divided government she worked tirelessly to pass bills that that both lifted Maine families out of poverty and increased the number of higher-skilled workers to grow Maine’s economy,” it said, adding, “Let’s show this champion for Maine working families our full support to help her flip this seat from red to blue — and let’s take back the Senate.”
 
Federal Election Commission filings show that as of June 24, 2020, Gideon had total contributions of $22,158,023, of which an overwhelming majority, $21,813,536 was in individual contributions. Her cash on hand by end of June was $5,494,743.
 
Sen. Collins was a few million short of her rival with total contributions by the same date at $15,169,062, and individual contributions at $12,266, 69. However, her cash on hand was neck-and-neck at $5,006,945.

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