Sen. Susan 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.
The political forecasters there moved Ms. Collins’ race from “Toss-up” to “Leans Democrat.”
The veteran Republican could help decide whether the Senate confirms President Trump’s pick to fill late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s seat — putting an even bigger spotlight on the race and on the bipartisan image Ms. Collins has developed on Capitol Hill.
They say the polling out of Maine and the state’s ranked-choice voting appear to give House Speaker Sara 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 GOP voters as well as 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 also say that 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 that 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.