So much for Susan Collins' sellout to Trump: She has a Trumpian primary opponent anyway
Sen. Susan Collins has demonstrated her willingness to sell out her supposed principles to Donald Trump when it matters most: Supreme Court nominees and tax cuts for the superrich. She thinks she can walk the line in her 2020 re-election campaign, occasionally bucking Trump (Trumpcare, border emergency) to keep her moderate voters on board, but being Trumpy enough to stave off challenges from her right. It’s not working.
She’s got a primary opponent now, though not a particularly serious one. Derek Levasseur is a blogger and former cop who announced he’ll primary Collins because she voted against Trump’s border emergency declaration and because she wants police to be able to temporarily take guns away from people deemed dangerous. He’s a kook, but he’s a total Trump kook, vowing to back “America First policies,” which is probably enough to make Trump notice and say nice things about him.
Levasseur’s got enough of a checkered history to be right up Trump’s alley. He’s a former police officer because of an “incident at a wedding reception” in 2012 in which he was charged with a misdemeanor domestic assault charge for attacking four people, including his then 15-year-old daughter. He has no criminal record, having done whatever he needed to do to have the charges expunged. He left the force officially in 2013.
Since then he’s been making a name for himself among Maine’s other extremist kooks: “His Facebook channel has more than 4,000 followers, he filmed interviews with several Republican candidates in the 2018 elections, he serves on the Maine Republican Party’s state committee and has volunteered on party campaigns.” He’s in with the state party’s nutjob grassroots, the people that got the unhinged Paul LePage into the governor’s chair twice.
So Collins doesn’t have too much room to do her moderate shtick in the next two years, pretending to oppose Trump when she thinks it will help her general election numbers. Even if Levasseur’s a problematic candidate, she can’t be giving him and his ilk any more fodder.