- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 7, 2018

Obama administration figure Susan Rice has hinted that she may challenge Sen. Susan Collins, but the Maine Republican made it clear Sunday that she’s ready to rumble.

Ms. Collins called into question the Democrat’s ties to the northeastern state, saying Ms. Rice isn’t a Mainer.

“As far as Susan Rice is concerned, her family has a home in Maine, but she doesn’t live in the state of Maine. Everybody knows that,” said Ms. Collins on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Ms. Rice, who served as U.S. Ambassador to the UN and National Security Advisor under President Obama, touched off speculation Friday when she tweeted “me” in response to the question, “who wants to run for senator in Maine?”

She followed up later Friday by saying “I’m not making any announcements,” although she was “deeply disappointed” by Ms. Collins’s critical support for the confirmation Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh.

A crowdfunding site has raised $3 million to fund a 2020 challenger to Ms. Collins based on her Kavanaugh vote, but the moderate Republican said she owed it to the voters to “do what I think is right.”

“And over the years, the people of Maine have trusted me to exercise my best judgment. That’s what I did in this case,” she said. “Whatever the voters decide, but I’m going to do what I think is right.”

Ms. Collins relayed a story about her first meeting with Ms. Rice, who had asked the senator to introduce her for her confirmation hearing as UN ambassador.

“But the irony is, back in 2009, when she was nominated to be ambassador of the UN, she came to me, even though I did not know her back then at all, and pleaded with me to introduce her before the committee, which I was happy to do because her family had links to the state of Maine,” said Ms. Collins.

Ms. Rice tweeted she was “very grateful for Senator Collins‘ extremely generous endorsement of my nomination and her detailed description of my deep ties to Maine.”

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