Collins’ vote causes site funding future opponent to crash
Web page inundated after senator declared support of Kavanaugh
A crowdfunding site where activists have been raising money to defeat Sen. Susan Collins in 2020 was inundated with pledges after the Maine Republican announced she would support Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court.
By 3:55 p.m. Friday, the site had crashed, apparently overwhelmed.
“Senator Susan Collins has people more motivated than we’ve ever seen before,” Crowdpac tweeted. “Hold tight, we’ll be back shortly.”
The site was back online a little less than two hours later. By Saturday morning, the campaign that vows to support Collins’ future opponent had surpassed $3 million — not an insignificant amount for a political race in a state with one of the smallest populations in the country (1.3 million).
A group of liberal activists began the campaign last month to pressure Collins, a key swing vote in Kavanaugh’s nomination, to vote against President Donald Trump’s nominee. If Collins voted no, donations would not be withdrawn from donors. If she voted yes, the pledges would fund the campaign of whoever wins Maine’s Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate in two years.
Maine People’s Alliance, Mainers for Accountable Leadership and activist Ady Barkan have doubled their original goal to $4 million. The unusual fundraising effort is a sign of an energized Democratic electorate and could set the stage for Collins’ re-election effort.
As the pledges poured in, yet another unusual series of events in these hyperpartisan times unfolded on social media: the online crowdsourcing for a nominee and said nominee’s future campaign staffers.
“Who wants to run for Senate in Maine? There will be an army of supporters with you,” tweeted Jen Psaki, a former White House communications director under President Barack Obama.
“Me,” Susan Rice, Obama’s former United Nations ambassador and national security adviser, replied, raising a flurry of questions about what her plans are.
Rice, whose family is from Portland, Maine, later clarified, saying she’s not making any announcements.
A spokeswoman for Collins has sharply criticized the crowdfunding effort, calling it an attempt at extortion.
“And anybody who thinks these tactics would work on Senator Collins obviously doesn’t know her. Senator Collins will make up her mind based on the merits of the nomination. Threats or other attempts to bully her will not play a factor in her decision making whatsoever,” Annie Clark said in a statement before the senator announced her support for Kavanaugh.
One ethics expert told the Washington Post that the crowdfunding campaign may violate federal bribery statutes, which prohibit giving or offering anything of value to government officials in exchange for any acts or votes.
Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, cast the deciding vote in support of Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court.