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Collins becomes fourth GOP senator to congratulate Biden

Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsPortman: Republicans are 'absolutely' committed to bipartisan infrastructure bill Democratic clamor grows for select committee on Jan. 6 attack Centrists gain foothold in infrastructure talks; cyber attacks at center of Biden-Putin meeting MORE (Maine) on Monday became the fourth Republican senator to congratulate President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenMilitary must better understand sexual assaults to combat them The Hill's Equilibrium — Presented by NextEra Energy — Tasmanian devil wipes out penguin population On The Money: Democrats make full-court press on expanded child tax credit | White House confident Congress will raise debt ceiling MORE, while urging patience amid a myriad of legal challenges.

"I would offer my congratulations to President-elect Biden on his apparent victory – he loves this country, and I wish him every success," Collins said in a statement.

Most Senate Republicans have refrained from commenting on Biden's victory and have not publicly conceded that President TrumpDonald TrumpWhat blue wave? A close look at Texas today tells of a different story Democrats go down to the wire with Manchin Trump's former bodyguard investigated in NY prosectors' probe: report MORE lost reelection.

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Three other GOP senators — Sens. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyOvernight Defense: Senate panel delays Iraq war powers repeal | Study IDs Fort Hood as least-safe base for female soldiers | Pentagon loosens some COVID-19 restrictions Senate panel delays war authorization repeal after GOP push Eliminate family and child poverty: Richard Nixon may help in today's debate MORE (Utah), Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiPortman: Republicans are 'absolutely' committed to bipartisan infrastructure bill Democrats facing tough reelections back bipartisan infrastructure deal Centrists gain foothold in infrastructure talks; cyber attacks at center of Biden-Putin meeting MORE (Alaska) and Ben SasseBen SasseGOP senators applaud Biden for global vaccine donation plans Pence: Trump and I may never 'see eye to eye' on events of Jan. 6 White House: Biden will not appoint presidential Jan. 6 commission MORE (Neb.) — have issued statements congratulating Biden after The Associated Press and other media outlets called the race for him Saturday.

Collins also tipped her hand to the looming transition process, saying that "presidential transitions are important" and that the incoming Biden administration "should be given every opportunity to ensure that they are ready to govern on January 20th."

The Washington Post reported on Sunday that General Services Administration Administrator Emily Murphy hadn't yet affirmed that Biden won the election, a step needed to give his team access to federal resources and the ability to communicate with agencies. 

President Trump has made baseless claims that the election was rigged and stolen from him — accusations he has ramped up as it became clearer that he did not have a path to 270 electoral college votes. 

Trump’s campaign has filed several lawsuits to challenge the results in a few battleground states after the president spent months spreading false claims that mail-in ballots could open the election up to fraud. 

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While some GOP lawmakers have pushed back since the election about the president's rhetoric, top allies have echoed his claims and urged him to fight back. Several have tried to straddle a middle ground, not directly weighing in on Trump's claims but predicting the legal process will play out.  

Collins, in her statement, urged "people to be patient." 

“I understand that the President and others have questions about the results in certain states. There is a process in place to challenge those results and, consistent with that process, the President should be afforded the opportunity to do so," Collins said.  

“I know that many are eager to have certainty right now. While we have a clear direction, we should continue to respect that process. I urge people to be patient. The process has not failed our country in more than 200 years, and it is not going to fail our country this year," Collins added. 

Updated at 3:26 p.m.