PORTLAND, Maine — Last Thursday, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) was one of eight Republican senators invited to the White House to meet with President Trump. Collins says many issues were discussed, including the impact of tariffs on Maine's lobster industry. But as for the impeachment inquiry, Collins would not reveal what was said, only that "He did not ask anything of anyone. There was no procedure discussed."
Our NEWS CENTER Maine political analysts say it's likely that the president was looking to shore up support among Senate Republicans.
Former Republican state Senator Phil Harriman says "I'm sure (President Trump) would love to have Congress put some legislation on his desk that he could sign. But he's also aware that the Senate is probably going to be conducting a trial on which he should remain in office."
Democrat John Richardson, a former Speaker of the Maine House, says Trump knows Collins will be one of the people front and center in an impeachment trial, perhaps making him more willing to listen to her concerns on the issues. Richardson says Collins "probably needed some assurances from him about certain issues before she would even consider supporting him in this impeachment vote."
In the race for the Republican nomination in Maine's second Congressional district, Adrienne Bennett, Eric Brakey and Dale Crafts are all emphasizing their support for President Trump, who won an electoral vote in the district in 2016.
Richardson thinks that could prove to be a negative for them in the long run. "Although their strategy is to tie themselves to Trump, I'm not so certain that's a wise thing to do when it comes to the general election."
But as Harriman points out, "You can't get to the general election unless you win the primary, so that's the first mountain you have to climb."
Former Congressman Bruce Poliquin, who lost the first-ever federal ranked-choice voting election, has been making public appearances lately, warning other states not to adopt the system. He recently urged a legislative committee in Massachusetts to "reject the voter fraud inherent in rank (sic) choice... and don't be hoodwinked like we were."
Phil Harriman says he understands Poliquin's frustration with the system.
But John Richardson says "If you are against ranked-choice voting, the last person you want to send in is Bruce Poliquin because it looks like it's sour grapes."
He adds that Poliquin lost because he didn't broaden his appeal to Maine voters.
In Maine's first district, Mark Holbrook, who has lost two races against Democratic Congresswoman Chellie Pingree, sent an e-mail to supporters saying he is weighing another run next year, and that he'll make a decision in January. He says that could be another campaign against Pingree as a Republican or an independent, or even a primary challenge to Sen. Susan Collins.
Richardson says that's no way to approach an election. "I think when you run for Congress or the U.S. Senate or any other position for that matter, you have to have that burning desire, that fire in the belly to do it, there's a reason why you're doing it."
And Harriman agrees, saying "You're telling the voters I don't know which office I'm running for, I don't know what political philosophy I'm going to base my campaign on, that's no way to get people to take a look at you and say look at the third time really is the charm."
Political Brew airs Sundays on the Morning Report.