By Associated Press - Tuesday, June 9, 2020

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) - House Speaker Sara Gideon was a no-show at a debate ahead of the Democratic Senate primary, but her campaign said she’ll be participating in two upcoming forums before the July 14 election.

Lobbyist Betsy Sweet and attorney Bre Kidman participated without Gideon in the pre-recorded, televised debate Monday evening that was sponsored by News Center Maine.

Kidman released on social media a clip of Gideon telling her in March that she would attend a debate.

Gideon’s campaign said Tuesday she’ll appear at events hosted by Maine Public and the Democratic Party.

Gideon, who has the endorsement of the Senate Democrats’ campaign arm, is widely considered to be the favorite in the primary. She already has raised more than $14 million for the race.



The campaign of Republican Sen. Susan Collins accused the Gideon campaign of skipping the event to avoid voter scrutiny.

“Gideon’s ubiquitous absence is in keeping with Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer’s ‘windowless basement’ strategy, keeping Gideon and other candidates sequestered from the public eye, protecting them from voter scrutiny and potential missteps, and focusing them instead on fundraising phone calls and carefully produced television ad,” her campaign said.

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