Collins ‘getting ready’ for 2020 run, splits shutdown blame

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Sen. Susan Collins is “getting ready to run” for re-election, she said during a television appearance Sunday, but she reiterated that she won’t make a decision until the end of the year.

Collins, a moderate Republican from Maine who was first elected to the Senate in 1996, also said on NBC’s “Meet The Press” that she thinks Republicans and Democrats are both at fault for the government shutdown, and that a compromise could be brokered soon.

Democrats and liberal groups have targeted Collins for her role in the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh last year. A crowd-funded effort to boost her opponent in 2020 has received more than $3.7 million.

Collins has yet to make a firm commitment about whether she’s running for re-election. She told “Meet The Press” host Chuck Todd she would prefer to use this year to legislate rather than campaign.

“I’m getting ready to run, but frankly I just think it’s too early to make that kind of decision,” Collins said. “But I am getting prepared, and I’ll make a final decision toward the end of this year.”

Collins was re-elected with ease in 2014, but Democratic organizers have vowed to hold her accountable for Kavanaugh’s confirmation if she seeks another term. She announced her support for Kavanaugh on the Senate floor in October in a move that essentially assured the nominee’s ascent to the Supreme Court.

Kavanaugh’s nomination by Republican President Donald Trump was followed by testimony from Christine Blasey Ford that Kavanaugh assaulted her decades earlier. Collins said on the Senate floor that she was compelled by Ford’s testimony, but that Kavanaugh deserved the presumption of innocence.

Fundraising by liberals to attempt to defeat Collins in 2020 intensified almost immediately.

The partial shutdown of the federal government hit its 16th day Sunday. Collins told Todd the shutdown could be ended if Trump and leaders in Congress agree to separate the issue of a wall at the southern border from the rest of the functions of the federal government.

“We could reopen much of the government where there’s no dispute over issues involving certain departments like ag, transportation, housing, interior,” Collins said. “Let’s get those reopened while the negotiations continue.”

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