Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) has been trying to publicly distance herself from President Donald Trump while she runs a difficult reelection campaign. But on her email list, Collins and her campaign have frequently turned to Fox News contributors and Trump advisers Newt Gingrich and Karl Rove for fundraising help.
Collins is running for reelection in Maine, where Trump is badly trailing former Vice President Joe Biden in polling. She has received scrutiny over her support for major Trump policies, including her vote to confirm Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
Collins and her campaign have also attempted to raise money by turning to Gingrich and Rove, two Republicans whose partisan commentaries defy Collins’ alleged brand of independence. According to a search of a Media Matters email account that receives fundraising solicitations, Gingrich has sent at least two fundraising emails for Collins. They include such solicitations as:
- “Republicans need to rally behind Susan’s campaign if we want to hold the Senate this fall. If we let the Senate slip into Schumer's greedy hands, Republicans will have no majority voice in Congress for YEARS.” [Link]
- “I’m contacting you today because I know you support Susan Collins, but I need you to make a donation to Susan’s campaign before it’s too late. The entire country is following her fundraising numbers and scrutinizing her every move. We need to rally behind Susan and support her with everything we got.” [Link]
According to a search of that email account, Rove has sent at least four emails on behalf of Collins’ Senate campaign in recent months. Those emails include such solicitations as:
- “Friend, I’m asking you to donate to the Susan Collins campaign today. Anything you can send her campaign right now is greatly appreciated.” [Link]
- “Susan and her team are doing everything they can to win, but it’s not enough. They need our support right now to ensure they cross the finish line in November with a WIN!” [Link]
- “We need measured, thoughtful leaders with integrity like Senator Susan Collins who’ll stand up for their constituents back home and not cave to the radicals pushing the Democratic Party left.” [Link]
- “We must help Susan win. There’s TOO MUCH at stake to ignore the race in Maine.” [Link]
Collins herself sent an October 9 email stating that “Karl Rove emailed you… Newt Gingrich emailed you… … and now I’m emailing you” to ask for campaign contributions.
Media Matters previously reported that Rove has been advising numerous Republican organizations and campaigns despite Fox’s policy that it “does not condone any talent participating in campaign events.” (In reality, network personalities routinely participate in campaign events without any apparent repercussions.)
Mainer reported on Friday that Collins’ political action committee donated to the campaigns of Kevin Bushey and Brian Redmond, two state legislative candidates who support QAnon, the violence-linked conspiracy theory that the FBI has deemed a potential terrorist threat. Mainer added that the two also “anticipate a political bloodbath will soon erupt nationwide, ultimately leading to arrests, military trials, and ‘God-declared executions’ for ‘traitors’ like top Democratic politicians and donors, socialists, Planned Parenthood, and Black Lives Matter and Sunrise Movement activists.” A Collins spokesperson responded by claiming that the senator “denounces QAnon” and the PAC was “not aware of the activities of these two individuals at the time these two donations were made."