Liberal activists in Maine have raised more than $850,000 since August that they plan to donate to Senator Susan Collins’s next Democratic challenger if she votes to confirm Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
Reproductive rights groups are concerned that confirming Kavanaugh could lead to the court criminalizing abortion or ending other protections guaranteed under Roe v. Wade. At the state level, abortion rights are already at risk, with increasing legal restrictions and the rapid closure of clinics in rural parts of the country like Kentucky, where only one clinic remains.
In 2014, Collins ran as a pro-choice Republican, receiving the support of groups like NARAL and Planned Parenthood. The former gave her a 90% rating in 2014, while the latter defended Collins for standing with Planned Parenthood and with women “when it mattered most.”
But now, activists are urging Collins to vote “no” on Kavanaugh, with Republicans holding a slim 51-to-49 majority in the Senate. Collins has previously said she would oppose any Supreme Court nominee who “demonstrates hostility” toward Roe v. Wade. However, she also said she believes Kavanaugh will uphold abortion rights, because he told her it was “settled law.”
Liberal activists are crowdfunding to support Collins’s next challenger, in hopes that the effort will also influence Collins to vote against Kavanaugh, New York Magazine reported. The campaign, called, “Senator Collins, Be a Hero. Reject President Trump’s Supreme Court Pick!” has raised close to $900,000. “We need [Collins] to hear our message,” the fundraiser description reads. “She has to vote NO on Kavanaugh! Our future depends on it.” The group said it will return all funds to donors if Collins votes against Kavanaugh.
Activists have also sent her office 3,000 coat hangers since July.
“Senators hold the keys to women’s fundamental freedoms in their hands,” NARAL president Ilyse Hogue said in a statement. “Voters are watching. History is watching. It is time Senators listen to their constituents and loudly and proudly declared their opposition to this nominee.”
Even if Collins takes a stand against Kavanaugh, Democrats will still need one more vote to block the nominee, and liberals are looking to Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, the Senate’s other pro-choice Republican. Alaska’s indigenous residents have been putting pressure on the Senator to vote no, saying that Kavanaugh has a record of ruling against their rights.