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Sierra Club endorses Collins' competitor Gideon

Sierra Club endorses Collins' competitor Gideon
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The Sierra Club has endorsed Maine Speaker of the House Sara Gideon (D) in her race to unseat Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsSenate GOP eyes Oct. 26 for confirming Barrett to Supreme Court GOP blocks Schumer effort to adjourn Senate until after election This week: Clock ticks on chance for coronavirus deal MORE (R).

“We are confident that Gideon will be a tireless environmental advocate standing up for the rights of Mainers to access clean air, clean water, and a livable climate,” the Sierra Club’s Maine chapter said in a release.

The endorsement is the latest move in an increasingly expensive race that threatens to unseat the four-term moderate Republican.

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"Mainers deserve a senator who will take action on climate change. As Speaker, I worked to protect our natural resources, invest in renewable energy, and reduce carbon emissions. I’m ready to bring that same leadership to Washington," Gideon said on Twitter.

Collins has never scored an endorsement from Sierra Club, but she has been backed by other green groups in the past. The League of Conservation Voters endorsed her in 2014 but backed Gideon in this cycle,

The Environmental Defense Fund Action Fund also ran an ad in 2014 praising her for fighting climate change. She also received kudos from environmental groups for voting against both of President TrumpDonald John TrumpNearly 300 former national security officials sign Biden endorsement letter DC correspondent on the death of Michael Reinoehl: 'The folks I know in law enforcement are extremely angry about it' Late night hosts targeted Trump over Biden 97 percent of the time in September: study MORE’s nominees to lead the Environmental Protection Agency.

The latest big ticket endorsement for Collins came from former President George W. Bush, who backed Collins in Kennebunkport with his first endorsement of the 2020 cycle.  

An August Bangor Daily News poll found Gideon 5 points ahead of Collins, just squeaking past the 4.4 percent margin of error.

Money has been pouring into the race, with Gideon drawing an astonishing $23 million so far this cycle, compared to $16.3 million for Collins. 

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Gideon has pledged to recommit to the U.S. to the Paris Climate Accord and transition to 100 percent clean energy.

In a letter to the Sierra Club, Collins touted her work co-sponsoring the Great American Outdoors Act, a major conservation bill signed by Trump this summer, fighting ocean acidification, and her status as the only Republican to vote against repealing the Obama-era Clean Power Plan. 

“Our campaign chose not to seek the endorsement of the Sierra Club because of some of the extreme positions the group has taken - such as advocating for defunding the police,” Collins campaign spokesman Kevin Kelley said by email.