New revelations about US Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh — including details about a rushed FBI investigation into the 2018 sexual misconduct allegations against him — could be bad news for Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) and her reelection effort.
Collins’s legacy in the age of President Donald Trump was cemented with her vote to put Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court, after Kavanaugh was accused of sexual assault by his high school classmate Christine Blasey Ford (an allegation Kavanaugh denied).
Kavanaugh was shaping up to be a big issue for Collins’s reelection even before this weekend’s New York Times report, which suggested the FBI investigation and report on the sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh were incomplete when the Senate voted to confirm him. Collins and a number of other moderate senators said the FBI investigation gave them confidence in Kavanaugh before they voted him in.
With Collins up for reelection in 2020, the moderate Maine senator is already in the political fight of her life, and Brett Kavanaugh is a huge factor. The nonpartisan Cook Political Report recently moved its appraisal of Collins’s race from “lean Republican” to a toss-up, citing a number of polls showing Collins losing ground and the emergence of a strong Democratic challenger.
To be sure, what few polls there are show Collins leading her closest challenger — Democrat and Maine House Speaker Sara Gideon — by double digits. Collins has a huge advantage with her name recognition. But a number Republicans are worried about is Collins’ approval rating, which Morning Consult shows is at 45 percent, compared to 48 percent unfavorable.