The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and NARAL Pro-Choice America announced their support for Gideon a day after she formally jumped into the race ― as did EMILY’s List, a political action committee that backs female Democratic candidates who support abortion rights.
“Sara Gideon has proven that she will listen to and fight for all Mainers by bringing people together to lift up hardworking families and refusing to let partisanship and politics stand in the way of progress,” Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), chair of the DSCC, said in a statement.
“In the Senate, Sara will build on her impressive record to bring down health care costs, combat the opioid epidemic, and boost economic opportunities ― and she’ll always answer to her constituents,” Cortez Masto continued. “Mainers can trust Sara to fight for them, and we look forward to supporting her campaign.”
EMILY’s List called Gideon “a proven leader and dedicated public servant” who has fought for Maine’s working families and advocated for expanding access to quality health care for all.
NARAL Pro-Choice described Gideon on Tuesday as “a leader in the fight for reproductive freedom.”
“Mainers need someone who will fight for them in Washington and stand up to Mitch McConnell, Donald Trump and the Republican Party’s attacks on women and families,” NARAL President Ilyse Hogue said in a statement.
Collins, one of two Republican senators to publicly support abortion rights, received NARAL’s endorsement in 2002. The organization did not endorse her for reelection in 2008 or 2014, although it did not endorse anyone running against her in those races either.
NARAL actively campaigned against Collins last year after she voted to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court even as multiple allegations of sexual harassment were leveled against him. Her vote drew outrage from Democrats and abortion rights advocates across the country.
Gideon, who has served in the Maine House since 2012, announced her candidacy on Monday. She’d been expected to jump into the race after the scheduled June 19 close of Maine’s legislative session, several sources told HuffPost earlier this month.
Over 60 former and current Maine officials have endorsed Gideon in the race so far, including state Attorney General Aaron Frey and former Maine House Speaker Hannah Pingree (D).
Two other Democrats have announced bids to unseat Collins, though Gideon has far more name recognition in the state and is considered a top-tier recruit. Betsy Sweet, a former Maine gubernatorial candidate, and attorney Bre Kidman are also running.
For Democrats, defeating Collins in 2020 is seen as a key stepping stone to winning back control of the Senate.
This story has been updated with additional information about Gideon’s supporters.