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Bank lobbying group launches ad backing Collins reelection bid

Bank lobbying group launches ad backing Collins reelection bid
© Greg Nash

The U.S. banking industry’s largest lobbying group will run television advertisements supporting the reelection of Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsMark Kelly sworn in to Senate seat Biden brushes off criticism of budget nominee Scammers step up efforts to target older Americans during pandemic MORE (Maine), one of the most vulnerable incumbent Senate Republicans.

The American Bankers Association (ABA) on Thursday released an ad praising Collins as “America’s most bipartisan senator,” lauding her for her role in creating the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), the emergency loan program for small businesses passed through the March CARES Act.

The ABA will spend at least $100,000 to run the ads on Maine television stations in support of Collins’s bid for a fifth Senate term.

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“Senator Collins has worked with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to provide Mainers with the support they need during this difficult time,” said ABA President and CEO Rob Nichols. “Her efforts helped pass bipartisan legislation to create the critically important Paycheck Protection Program to help struggling small businesses weather the pandemic.”

Collins, one of the Senate’s most moderate Republicans, is facing a daunting bid for reelection against Democratic challenger and Maine House Speaker Sara Gideon. Collins’s support among Mainers in both parties has steadily declined since President TrumpDonald John TrumpFederal watchdog accuses VOA parent company of wrongdoing under Trump appointee Lawsuit alleges 200K Georgia voters were wrongly purged from registration list Ivanka Trump gives deposition in lawsuit alleging misuse of inauguration funds MORE’s election, and a poll conducted by the Bangor Daily News earlier this month found Gideon with an 8-point lead over the incumbent.

As Collins touts her moderate reputation and bipartisan track record, Gideon has sought to tie Collins closer to Trump by highlighting her vote in favor of Supreme Court Associate Justice Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughFor Thanksgiving, the Supreme Court upholds religious liberty COVID-19: Justice Alito overstepped judicial boundaries Defusing the judicial confirmation process MORE. Democrats have also criticized Collins’s vote against Trump’s removal from office despite frequently condemning his conduct.

Collins is the latest vulnerable moderate seeking reelection to win the support of the ABA. The powerful lobbying group has cut ads backing several industry-friendly lawmakers in both parties up for reelection this year, including Sen. Joni ErnstJoni Kay ErnstGOP chairman: Defense bill to include renaming Confederate bases, but not Section 230 repeal Iowa losses underscore Democrats' struggles with attracting rural voters The Memo: Trump plows ahead with efforts to overturn election MORE (R-Iowa), Sen. Chris CoonsChris Andrew CoonsThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Mastercard - GOP angst in Georgia; confirmation fight looms Overnight Health Care: Moderna to apply for emergency use authorization for COVID-19 vaccine candidate | Hospitals brace for COVID-19 surge | US more than doubles highest number of monthly COVID-19 cases Bipartisan Senate group holding coronavirus relief talks amid stalemate MORE (D-Del.), Rep. Stephanie MurphyStephanie MurphyRaising the required minimum distribution age for America's seniors Why it's time for a majority female Cabinet Democrats scramble on COVID-19 relief amid division, Trump surprise MORE (D-Fla.), Rep. Roger MarshallRoger W. MarshallThe Hill's Morning Report - Too close to call Marshall wins Kansas Senate race Live updates: Democrats fight to take control of the Senate MORE (R-Kan.) and Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas).

The ABA also ran ads in support of 12 vulnerable senators and representatives from each party during the 2018 midterm elections.