Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), one of the most vulnerable lawmakers up for reelection this fall, is walking a fine line in President Trump’s Senate impeachment trial: The moderate Republican has to demonstrate some independence from the president without alienating GOP voters. But her predicament became exponentially worse after Adam Schiff’s masterful presentation on Wednesday.
While Collins was the only GOP senator early Wednesday morning to break with her party and back a proposed rules change offered by Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), she also joined Republicans on 10 other votes that blocked Democratic amendments, proving to be a loyal foot-soldier on the majority of the votes.
That balancing act was put in jeopardy by the brilliant presentation of House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff’s (D-Calif.) at the Senate impeachment trial Wednesday.
Schiff spoke for about two and a half hours, during which he covered the timeline of the impeachment proceedings to this point, including numerous pieces of evidence and video testimony from the House hearings.
Things are definitely not going Susan Collins’ way. While a number of unpopular senators constantly get re-elected (look at Ted Cruz, for example), Collins’ problem isn’t so much that her popularity is going down the drain by the day, but that she’s also losing her basic support.
A Morning Consult poll released last week showed Collins as the most unpopular senator in the chamber with a 52 percent disapproval rating, handing Democrats an obvious opening.
Collins is facing five Democratic challengers, including Sara Gideon, the speaker of Maine’s House of Representatives.