Betsy Sweet, a lobbyist and former Maine gubernatorial candidate, snagged a key progressive endorsement from Justice Democrats on Wednesday, adding fuel to her bid to unseat Republican Sen. Susan Collins.
Sweet, who announced her bid last month, is a longtime progressive activist and has been involved in Maine politics through her lobbying work for more than a decade. She previously ran for the governorship in 2018 on a platform supporting a $15 minimum wage and a single-payer health care system, but finished third in the Democratic primary.
“Betsy has spent her entire life fighting for working families all across the state of Maine,” Justice Democrats wrote on Twitter. “It’s clear that Susan Collins has to be replaced with a bold progressive champion.”
Justice Democrats is a burgeoning political force after helping coordinate the groundbreaking campaign that elected Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) last year. The organization has focused on challenging centrist Democrats in hopes of electing more progressive lawmakers who can push ideas like the Green New Deal and “Medicare for All.”
“It’s time to come together and unite around our values to create a government that works for the good of us,” Sweet said during her campaign announcement in Maine last month. “Mainers care about each other. That’s who we are. That’s what we do.”
Collins, a moderate Republican, has served four terms in the Senate and has often been seen as a swing vote, at time siding with Democrats on crucial legislation. She has yet to formally announce her reelection bid, but has already raised nearly $4 million should she choose to run again.
Sweet is one of three Democrats running for the seat. Maine House Speaker Sara Gideon has already garnered three key endorsements in her own effort, including from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, NARAL Pro-Choice America and EMILY’s List. Attorney Bre Kidman is also running, and several other Democrats are mulling their own bids.
NARAL has actively campaigned against Collins despite the senator’s public support for abortion rights, pointing to her vote to confirm Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the nation’s highest bench despite the allegations of sexual assault and harassment against him.