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Maine GOP to consider rebuking Collins over impeachment vote

February 16, 2021 GMT

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — The Maine GOP chair has met via Zoom with county leaders to discuss whether to rebuke U.S. Sen. Susan Collins for her vote to convict former President Donald Trump at his impeachment trial, officials said Tuesday.

GOP Chair Demi Kouzounas told members of the state committee in a weekend email to be prepared for an emergency meeting “in the near future” to discuss the vote by Collins, one of seven Republicans who voted to convict Trump of inciting an insurrection.

Collins, who just won reelection in 2020, suggested that angry members of her own party shouldn’t torch the big tent philosophy.

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“We need to grow the Republican Party. I am the last remaining Republican in federal office in all of New England. There is room for people who disagree with one another in our party. It is our foundational principles that bring us together,” she said Tuesday in a statement.

Kennebec County GOP Chair Helen Tutwiler said county chairs met via Zoom on Monday night to discuss the issue, but she said they were told not to talk to the news media.

A special state committee meeting can be held with 10 days’ notice with the support of 17 state committee members representing at least six counties. Tutwiler said she expects a state committee meeting to happen “very soon.”

Jason Savage, Maine GOP executive director, told The Associated Press he was unable to confirm any details.

Collins, R-Maine, reiterated her position Tuesday that Trump did everything in his power to prevent the peaceful transfer of power.

“The impeachment trial was not about any single word uttered by president Trump on Jan. 6,” the day a mob of Trump supporters entered the U.S. Capitol, she told WLOB. “It was about his failure to obey the oath that he swore on Jan. 20, 2017.”

Collins is not alone in Congress in taking heat for her vote at home. The Louisiana GOP censured U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy. In Wyoming, the state party censured U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney for her House vote to impeach Trump.

Without addressing procedural details, Tutwiler said she and some other Republicans are upset with Collins’ impeachment vote.

“I don’t believe that she did the right thing for the Maine people who supported her in her last run for election,” she said.

Collins has always staked out the middle ground in Maine and touts her willingness to reach across the aisle. She soundly beat Democrat Sara Gideon in November in the hardest-fought contest of her career.

Even as the GOP considers rebuking her, Collins appears on mailings paid for by the Maine GOP in support of Republican William Guerrette for state senate in a special election District 14.