- The Washington Times - Saturday, October 6, 2018

An online effort to fund whoever runs in 2020 against Sen. Susan Collins, Maine Republican, raised over a million dollars within hours of her promising to vote to confirm Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh, briefly crashing the site hosting the campaign.

The crowdfunding campaign, titled “Either Sen. Collins VOTES NO on Kavanaugh OR we fund her future opponent,” had collected over $3 million from more than 100,000 pledges as of Saturday morning, including more than $1 million raised since Ms. Collins publicly spoke out Friday afternoon in support of President Trump’s pending high court pick.

Crowdpac, a political crowdsourcing platform hosting the campaign, said a surge in traffic immediately during and after Ms. Collins’ remarks caused the site to go offline for roughly an hour.

“During Collins’ floor speech, our site received 90 times the average amount of traffic we see hourly,” said Gisel Kordestani, Crowdpac’s chief executive. “This incredible and immediate response to Collins’ decision overwhelmed our servers, and our team is worked as quickly as possible to get Crowdpac.com back up and running.”

In a statement, Ms. Kordestani called the outage “an unfortunate side effect of the tremendous surge in participation we’ve seen since Kavanaugh’s nomination.”

“This is a critical and unprecedented moment in our nation’s history, and we are proud that our platform has provided an outlet for citizens to participate in democracy,” said Ms. Kordestani.

Mr. Trump nominated Judge Kavanaugh in July to replace retired Justice Anthony Kennedy, but confirmation proceedings were delayed as a result of multiple women accusing the Supreme Court hopeful of sexual misconduct.

Judge Kavanaugh has denied the allegations, and a limited probe conducted by the FBI failed to corroborate his accusers’ claims, according to Republican senators who reviewed its findings.

Senators are expected to narrowly vote on mostly party lines to confirm Judge Kavanaugh, and Ms. Collins – a moderate Republican who has split from the rest of the party in the past – was the last member of the GOP to indicate how she will vote.

On the other side of the aisle, only West Virginia’s Sen. Joe Manchin, who is facing a strong challenge in the November midterms, has said he will vote to confirm Kavanaugh.

The campaign to fund her future opponent passed the $2 million threshold right around the time the senator announced at the end of Friday’s floor speech that she would vote to confirm.

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

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