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Collins challenger raises $3.2 million in third quarter

Democrat Sara Gideon, who is challenging Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsTwo more parting shots from Trump aimed squarely at disabled workers Trump transition order follows chorus of GOP criticism The Memo: Trump election loss roils right MORE (R-Maine) in one of the nation’s most closely watched Senate races, raised $3.2 million in the third quarter of 2019. 

Gideon said Tuesday that more than 3,700 Maine residents contributed to her campaign and that nearly 97 percent of all donations were under $100.

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“I’m so grateful to the supporters who joined our team in the first few months of this campaign,” Gideon, who has disavowed donations from corporate PACs, said. “I’m running for Senate because I believe that politicians in Washington are too responsive to special interests and their wealthy donors, and it’s time for leadership that puts Maine first.” 

Gideon launched her bid against Collins in June in a race Democrats view as a prime pickup opportunity, raising $1 million in the first week of her campaign. 

Collins, who has been in the Senate since 1997, is a prime target for Democrats in 2020. Her vote last year to confirm Supreme Court Justice Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughCOVID-19: Justice Alito overstepped judicial boundaries Defusing the judicial confirmation process The magnificent moderation of Susan Collins MORE as he faced sexual misconduct allegations infuriated liberals and sparked an intense effort to recruit candidates to challenge the longtime senator. 

The Maine lawmaker raised $2.144 million in the third quarter, finishing October with $7.1 million cash on hand.

Gideon is among the highest-profile Democrats to enter the Maine Senate race and has specifically hit Collins over her backing for Kavanaugh. 

“At one point, maybe Senator Collins was different, but she doesn’t seem that way anymore: taking over a million dollars from drug companies and the insurance industry and voting to put Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court. I’m running for Senate because I know I can make a difference, and because Mainers deserve a senator who will always put our state first,” she said in her campaign announcement.

In order to win a spot in the general election, Gideon, the Speaker of the Maine House of Representatives, will have to first win the Democratic primary race. Betsy Sweet, who unsuccessfully ran for the Democratic nomination for governor in 2018, and Bre Kidman, an attorney, are also seeking the party’s Senate nomination. 

The Cook Political Report, a nonpartisan election handicapper, rates the Maine Senate race as a “toss up.”