While former Secretary of Defense and Republican Senator Bill Cohen strayed from his party last month and endorsed Democrat Joe Biden for president, he is not straying in the Maine Senate race. In a Portland Press Herald op-ed on Friday, Cohen endorsed incumbent Republican Sen. Susan Collins in her reelection bid, calling her “seasoned” and “trustworthy.”
Cohen hasn’t been shy about voicing criticisms of President Donald Trump—in a July interview with NEWS CENTER Maine, Cohen said, “[Trump] doesn't feel there's any law that applies to him" and "Everyone is subject to the rule of law. The president occupies a unique position in our society but he is not above the law."
He went on to say Trump is not fit to be commander in chief based on his actions, and in August announced his endorsement for Biden.
In his opinion piece, Cohen says Collins’ Democratic opponent Sara Gideon is using a “Trump-style tactic” with her use of “misleading claims” about Collins. He says these tactics are “inconsistent with the character required as a Senator.”
Cohen, however, doesn’t mention that both sides of the Maine Senate race have taken part in these attack tactics.
“I trust that Maine people will see through these dishonest tactics. But as we have seen with the Trump campaign, the Gideon campaign approach cynically suggests that a lie told often enough will begin to resemble the truth by sheer repetition,” Cohen wrote.
The Gideon campaign declined to comment on Cohen’s statements.
“These are very challenging times for Maine and our country, and it is crucially important that we have our most seasoned and trustworthy leaders working for us,” Cohen continued. “That’s why I am supporting Joe Biden and Susan Collins. They will help restore honesty and honor to our political system. And for Maine, Sen. Collins’ influential voice and senior leadership role are simply too valuable and too important to lose.”
On Friday Collins picked up another big endorsement, this time from Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker. Baker is also a Republican, but the endorsement is noteworthy because he rarely makes endorsements in races outside of his home state. Massachusetts is also considered a deep-blue state, despite having a Republican governor.
Baker’s endorsement is featured in new ad spots run by the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC), which launched a series of new ads in support of Collins. In addition to Baker, the other spots feature Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) and former Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn), who was the Democratic vice presidential nominee in 2000. The ad buy for the set of RJC ads supporting Collins total $450,000.
In a release, RJC Executive Director Matt Brooks says the ads target swing voters in Maine and are part of their strategy “to help Republicans keep and strengthen their majority in the US Senate and are in addition to our $10 million national effort for the reelection of President Donald Trump.”
In Baker’s spot, he says Collins works with people from both parties and does what’s right for her constituents in Maine.
“As governor of Massachusetts, I work with both parties to get things done. Susan Collins does that in the Senate,” Baker says in the ad. “She’s pro-environment, pro-women, pro-Maine. We need more leaders like Susan. I hope you reelect her.”