Senator Susan Collins has been untouchable as a United States Senator since she was first elected. Established politicians in Chellie Pingree and Tom Allen have been unable to succeed against the incumbent. As a three-term Senator who promised to retire after two terms, she obviously is a standard of honesty and honor. Both her and now-retired Olympia Snowe seemed to withstand any attack from any direction, whether it be from the Democrats or even within their own party.
Then Olympia Snowe then faced a fierce attack from the Tea Party Movement. While movements such as this typically are not dangerous to established politicians, a face on the movement to represent them in the race can be. And it was.
Scott D’Amboise and Andrew Ian Dodge entered early, with Dodge defecting from the Republican Party and D’Amboise remaining until Snowe officially launched the Angus King for U.S. Senate campaign with her last minute retirement announcement. With thunderous applause for D’Amboise from Republicans and a lukewarm response to Snowe at the caucuses, it became clear that faith was being lost in the establishment politician and fast.
The dynamic will be more interesting going forward this time around. It appears to be more unlikely that Senator Collins will face a primary challenge as Snowe did. But with the entrance of the former head of the Maine Civil Liberties Union, an alternative has been provided for libertarians.
Many libertarians have warmed up to her because of the hard fight on issues such as the drone legislation in the Augusta, while others such as former Ron Paul presidential campaign state director, now a State Senate candidate, Eric Brakey remain strong supporters of the re-election of Senator Collins.
Is Shenna Bellows pro-liberty? In terms of former Congressman Ron Paul and pure libertarianism, no. Does she have some pro-liberty stances? Absolutely. If you’re keeping a score, she likely has Senator Collins beat. But to be fair, my free-loading guinea pig is likely even more pro-liberty than Senator Collins, so that statement is hardly anything significant.
The problem Bellows poses for Senator Collins isn’t that she’s conservative, she’s not. She is progressive and will vote as such on a number of issues. The problem is that she holds civil libertarian stances that stand strong against the totalitarian stances of a woman who has refused to take a courageous stand against a number of tyrannical pieces of legislation. From the Patriot Act to the National Defense Authorization Act, Senator Collins has had a poor record on civil liberties. Bellows on the other hand, has fought against everything from the NDAA to drones, among other relevant issues.
When it comes down to weighing who will be less of a tyrant as a Senator, the score in some people’s minds may not place the incumbent Senator on top. Senator Collins’ record of burying our children in debt while protecting the government’s ability to monitor anyone getting too upset about it is a concern of any free American. These are issues Shenna Bellows has fought against time and time again.
While a debate between the strategic approach and pragmatism could last an eternity, it is undeniable that if the general election comes down to Senator Collins against Shenna Bellows, the Maine Republican Party may have to get used to dealing with two Senators from Maine who are not their own.