Jeanne Hey discusses supreme court vacancy and impact on Maine senate race on WMTW

The death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg amplified the issue of how the high court could play a major role in Maine’s closely watched U.S. Senate race between Susan Collins and Sara Gideon.

Maine voters have already indicated the Supreme Court is one of the top four issues determining how they would vote in the Senate race, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released this week.

Jeanne Hey, dean emerita of the College of Arts and Sciences and professor of Political Science, told WMTW that is largely due to Collins’ vote to confirm Supreme Court Justice Bret Kavanaugh.

“The really challenging position is for Susan Collins,” Hey said. “Much of her loss in popularity has actually been focused on the fact that she voted for Justice Kavanaugh, whom many of his critics say is going to undermine Roe v. Wade. This puts her in the spotlight. Will she support President Trump’s nominee?”

Hey noted both Collins, a Republican, and her Democratic opponent Sara Gideon are pro-choice. She says Gideon has stated she would never vote for any Supreme Court nominee who wasn’t overtly pro-choice and she has made that part of her senate campaign platform.

“I don’t expect, frankly, for this to change many people’s minds,” Hey told WMTW. “If it changes anything, it will be to motivate turnout, especially for Gideon voters who feel so strongly that Roe v. Wade not be overturned.”

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