2020 Maine Senate Candidate Guide

Susan Collins (R - Incumbent)
Susan Collins (R - Incumbent)
Sara Gideon (D)
Sara Gideon (D)

See Guides.vote for more online guides with links and sources. Volunteer at susancollins.com or saragideon.com. Download a PDF version of this guide.

ABORTION – Legal or ban?

Susan Collins – Mixed. Condemned Alabama law banning most abortions. However, voted to confirm Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who wrote in a 2017 judicial opinion that “the Government has permissible interests in favoring fetal life.”

Sara Gideon – Legal. Calls self “a strong and vocal advocate for protecting and expanding access to women’s reproductive care.” Co-sponsored legislation to require Maine’s Medicaid program to support abortion services.

AFFORDABLE CARE ACT- Support Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare

Susan Collins – Mixed. Backed budget plan that would have ended ACA. But voted against repeal of ACAUrged Atty. Gen. William Barr to defend ACA.

Sara Gideon – Yes. “The best system for us to build on is the Affordable Care Act.” In Maine House, “repeatedly supported efforts to expand Medicaid” under ACA.

CAMPAIGN FINANCE – Require more disclosure about sources of campaign financing? Overturn Citizens United decision allowing corporations and unions unlimited political spending?

Susan Collins – Mixed. Voters “have the right to know who is contributing,” but called DISCLOSE Act “a partisan bill that would not fix the real problem.” Did not support constitutional amendment to roll back Citizens United.

Sara Gideon – Yes. Backs legislation that would require disclosure of dark-money donors. Supports passing the DISCLOSE Act and constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United.

CLIMATE CHANGE – Consider human-caused climate change a serious threat? Address as top priority by taxing or limiting output of greenhouse gases?

Susan Collins – Mixed. Co-sponsored Regional Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act. Joined Climate Solutions Caucus. Voted to support Keystone XL pipeline construction to transport Canadian tar sands oil to U.S. refineries.

Sara Gideon – Yes. “One of the most urgent challenges we face.” Co-sponsored bill to “limit greenhouse gas pollution.” Committed to rejoining Paris Agreement. Calls “bold and immediate action on climate change” a top priority.

COVID-19 – Favor administration’s COVID response?

Susan Collins – Yes. “The President did a lot that was right in the beginning.”

Sara Gideon – No. Accused President Trump of slowing delivery of relief for political gain.

COVID CRISIS – ECONOMIC RESPONSE – Support administration’s economic response to coronavirus pandemic?

Susan Collins – Co-authored Paycheck Protection Program; calls for additional $250 billion. Supports COVID-19 funding for education.

Sara Gideon – Calls for support of various sectors during the pandemic, including the lobster industry, local governments, and farmers.

ENVIRONMENT – Tighten or loosen environmental protections?

Susan Collins – Mixed. Supported environmental protections such as preventing Arctic National Wildlife Refuge drilling. However, opposed Obama designation of Maine’s Katahdin region as national monument.

Sara Gideon – Tighten. Calls environmental stewardship “deeply important to our livelihoods.” Voted to ban foam containers and single-use plastic bags. Introduced water quality bill to protect tribal sustenance fishing.

FINANCIAL REGULATION – Tighten or loosen regulation of banks and credit card companies?

Susan Collins – Loosen. Voted to repeal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau rule allowing class action suits against banks & credit card companies.

Sara Gideon – No position found.

GAY RIGHTS – Support same-sex marriage?

Susan Collins – Yes. Supported same-sex marriage before Supreme Court decision. Supported same-sex veterans’ benefits. Opposed Trump judicial nominee over record on gay rights.

Sara Gideon – Yes. Calls for “supporting LGBTQ+ people everywhere.” Opposed Trump judicial nominee Lawrence VanDyke because of his opposition to marriage equality.

GUN CONTROL –Enact more restrictive legislation on firearms?

Susan Collins – Yes. Supported background checks bill and assault weapons ban. Reintroduced “red flag” bill to “prevent individuals posing a threat to themselves or others from purchasing or possessing firearms.”

Sara Gideon – Yes. Supports “universal background checks and red flag laws.” Co-sponsored a “red flag” bill, prohibiting guns from “extremely dangerous and suicidal individuals.”

IMMIGRATION – Create a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, including “Dreamers” brought to U.S. as children?

Susan Collins – Yes. Co-sponsored bipartisan legislation to provide a path to citizenship for “Dreamers.”

Sara Gideon – Yes. Urged Maine’s congressional delegation to support the DREAM Act, with conditional legal status for undocumented youth.

IMPEACHMENT – Support U.S. Senate calling witnesses and voting to convict President Trump?

Susan Collins – Mixed. Was one of two Republican senators to vote to hear witnesses, but subsequently voted to acquit Trump.

Sara Gideon – Yes. By not calling witnesses, the Senate failed to provide “the fair impeachment trial that Mainers and Americans deserved.”

IRAN – Oppose military attacks on Iran without congressional approval?

Susan Collins – Mixed. “I believe the strike that killed Soleimani was justified, but that sustained hostilities committing American troops would require congressional approval.”

Sara Gideon – No. The administration must explain “the imminent threat facing American soldiers and why [a strike is] absolutely necessary. … Congress must provide oversight.”

LABOR – Support strengthening the rights of unions?

Susan Collins – No. Voted to advance President Trump’s nomination of anti-union lawyer Eugene Scalia to head Department of Labor. Given lowest rating by AFL-CIO for record on labor rights.

Sara Gideon – Yes. Co-sponsored Maine House bill to require public employers to grant unions right to meet with and get information on employees. Endorsed by major Maine labor unions.

MARIJUANA – Decriminalize or legalize?

Susan Collins – Mostly no. Does not “support a national, federal effort to decriminalize.” Would allow VA doctors to recommend cannabis for veterans where legal.

Sara Gideon – Yes. Voted in 2018 for legislation to implement and regulate legalization in Maine, approved by popular vote in 2016, and to override Governor Page’s veto.

MINIMUM WAGE – Raise federal hourly minimum wage above current $7.25/hour?

Susan Collins – Mixed. In 2014, voted against bill to raise federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. Led failed effort to negotiate a compromise for a smaller raise.

Sara Gideon – Yes. In 2018, successfully opposed push to repeal minimum-wage increase passed by Maine voters in 2016. Supports raising federal minimum to $15.

PLANNED PARENTHOOD – Should Planned Parenthood receive public funds for non-abortion-related care?

Susan Collins – Mixed. Has opposed efforts to defund Planned Parenthood. But in 2015 voted to defund as part of a deal to secure a DOJ investigation into charges of sale of fetal tissue.

Sara Gideon – Yes. Fully fund so Mainers “have access to the health care they need.” Sponsored bill to replace $3 million in lost federal funding for family planning.

STUDENT FINANCIAL AID – Support free or subsidized tuition for lower-income individuals and lower interest on student loans?

Susan Collins – Yes. Co-sponsored legislation to fund need-based grants to low-income students and to allow employers to help pay employee student debt.

Sara Gideon – Yes. Will work to “lower the cost of college and tackle the student loan debt crisis.” Sponsored education funds for low-income adults with minor children.

SUPREME COURT – Supported Brett Kavanaugh nomination?

Susan Collins – Yes. Voted in Senate to confirm Kavanaugh. In July 2019 said, “I do not regret my vote in the least.”

Sara Gideon – No. Said Collins’ pro-Kavanaugh vote “put women’s control over their own health care decisions in extreme jeopardy.”

TAXES – Support administration’s $1.9 trillion (2017) tax cuts?

Susan Collins – Yes. Voted for Trump tax cuts, saying they would bring “good jobs and greater economic growth.”

Sara Gideon – No. Called 2017 Trump tax cut a “nearly $2 trillion tax break for big corporations and the wealthiest families in America” which “did little for families in Maine.”

Editor’s note: Lisa Savage (Ind.) is also running. Due to limited space, we can only include candidates polling 15%, but do check out her website.

Campus Election Engagement Project is a nonpartisan effort to help colleges engage students in elections. Sources include Votesmart.org, FactCheck.org, Politifact.com and candidate statements. Vote411.org and Ballotready.org  offer guides to local races.