PORTLAND, Maine – Republican Sen. Susan Collins and Democratic nominee Sarah Gideon clashed Wednesday night over attacks on attacks, health care and the judiciary in their last debate before election day.
Gideon, a spokesman for the House of Maine, has repeatedly tried to link Collins to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and President Donald Trump, urging Mainers to vote for change.
As in the past, Gideon indicated that Collins did not say whether he would vote for Trump. Collins did not vote for Trump in 2016, but wrote in another Republican.
Moderator Steve Bothari flatly asked Collins if Trump deserved to be re-elected for a new four-year term.
“I’m not entering presidential politics,” Collins said, reiterating his position that he could work with the Trump administration or with former Democratic Vice President Joe Biden if he wins the election.
“What I don’t want to see,” Collins said, “is party control in Washington, because I think that would lead to a far-left program going through Congress.”
Collins, chief architect of the Salary Protection Program, which helped 250,000 Mainers, told voters she worked hard during the pandemic until Gideon left the House seven months ago.
As for health care, Collins said the proposed public health option, backed by Gideon, would close many rural hospitals, while Collins said she voted to save the ACA and protect people under existing conditions.
“These are the facts. “Even millions of dollars and misleading ads will not change that,” the senator said.
Gideon accused Collins and McConnell of undermining the Affordable Care Act without a replacement plan.
“They spent 10 years trying to take away the Affordable Care Act from you,” she told Republicans.
This was the fifth and final debate. Unlike previous debates, this one involved only the two leading candidates, who faced each other near the end of an expensive race that could help determine which party controls the Senate. Polls suggest a close race.
The event came just days after Collins voted against the last Supreme Court nominee, Amy Connie Barrett. Collins said she did so not on Barrett’s qualifications, but on the basis of fairness, as Republicans refused to vote in an election year for one of Presidential nominees, Barack Obama.
Gideon used Trump’s court appointments to attack Collins against women’s reproductive rights and health care. Collins noted that her opponent declined to say whether she would support packing the Supreme Court with additional judges. Collins wants to keep the court at nine.
Both candidates accused the other of running misleading ads.
More than $ 120 million will be spent on television advertising by election day, according to ad tracking company Kantar / CMAG. This does not include the tens of millions that are still flowing into the country.
About 400,000 voters in Maine have already voted absent as of Tuesday, and voting with a ranked choice will be used in the amounts.
According to the ranked voting system, voters can rank all candidates according to their preferences in the ballots. If no one wins the majority of the votes in the first place, then there are additional tables assisted by computers in which the candidates in the last place are eliminated and the votes are redistributed.
The debate, sponsored by WMTW-TV, was different from previous debates, as independents Lisa Savage and Max Lynn were not invited.
But the independents did not go quietly. They filed a formal complaint with the Federal Election Commission over the pickaxe.
WMTW-TV said the invitations were based on “good faith journalistic judgment” based on objective criteria approved by a legal adviser.