- The Washington Times - Monday, September 21, 2020

Sen. Susan M. Collins of Maine is the underdog in her reelection race against Democrat Sara Gideon, according to the latest breakdown from the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics.

Political forecasters moved Ms. Collins’ race from “toss-up” to “leans Democrat.”

The Republican senator could cast the decisive vote on confirmation of President Trump’s nominee to fill the Supreme Court vacancy created by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg. Her role puts an even bigger spotlight on the race and on the bipartisan image Ms. Collins has developed on Capitol Hill.

Polling out of Maine and the state’s ranked-choice voting appear to give House Speaker Gideon the edge over Ms. Collins, who is seeking a fifth term.

The court battle also could force Ms. Collins to pick sides — a decision that could sway Republican voters and those who see her as an independent voice.

“While the court vacancy introduces a significant wild card into this race, we think it’s likelier to hurt Collins than help her,” the analysis says.

The forecasters said Sen. Lindsey Graham’s reelection contest against Democrat Jaime Harrison has moved from “likely Republican” to “lean Republican.”

They cited Mr. Harrison’s strong fundraising and said Mr. Graham could decide to harden his ties with President Trump, who is more popular in South Carolina.

“Graham still has work to do solidifying the Trump vote, and we’ll be watching if his standing with GOP partisans strengthens as the Supreme Court confirmation process unfolds,” they said.

• Seth McLaughlin can be reached at smclaughlin@washingtontimes.com.

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