Outside Maine, Susan Collins is the ‘Senate power-broker you’ve never heard of’

Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine. BDN file photo by Troy Bennett.

Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine. BDN file photo by Troy Bennett.

Just wanted to take a moment to draw your attention to a blog entry by Washington Post political blogger Ed O’Keefe on the senior U.S. senator from Maine, Republican Susan Collins.

O’Keefe highlight’s Collins’ deal-making streak in the Senate — including a rumored deal she’s pushing to bring Republicans on board with a minimum wage increase. Also mentioned are her bipartisan work on deals to extend unemployment, her key swing vote on whether to release a report on CIA torture, and behind-the-scenes work on several key fiscal issues, such as the budget, farm bill and sequester.

Says O’Keefe:

“Add it all up and you get this conclusion: Collins is the Senate power broker you’ve never heard of — or at least the one that people often overlook or forget about. When most people think of Republicans willing to work across the aisle — or at least maintain friendships with Democrats — they’re more likely to think of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) or Collins’s former Maine colleague, Olympia Snowe, who called it quits in 2012.

Collins isn’t as powerful as Senate leaders, like Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) and Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and doesn’t enjoy the national following of the likes of McCain, Schumer and younger senators with more ambitious political futures. But she may be more important to the business of actually getting things done — even if most people outside of Maine don’t know who she is.”

Read the full article here.

LATE-TO-THE-PARTY UPDATE: My fellow BDN blogger Rebekah Metzler also blogged today about Collins’ deal-making prowess, and pondered whether some of her willingness to deal with Democrats was an attempt to blunt attacks by her Democratic challenger in the upcoming election, Shenna Bellows. Read Metzler’s post here.

Mario Moretto

About Mario Moretto

Mario Moretto has been a Maine journalist, in print and online publications, since 2009. He joined the Bangor Daily News in 2012, first as a general assignment reporter in his native Hancock County and, now, in the State House. Mario left the BDN in 2015.