PORTLAND – Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate Shenna Bellows sought to tie incumbent Republican Sen. Susan Collins to Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell at a press conference on Wednesday.
The event, which took place at Rising Tide Brewery in Portland, coincided with the one-year anniversary of the 2013 partial government shutdown and followed efforts by Bellows’ campaign to blame Collins for causing the sixteen-day partial closure of some federal agencies.
“You cannot rewrite history,” Bellows said. “Mainers know that the Republicans, lockstep, Susan Collins joining Mitch McConnell and Ted Cruz, are responsible for last year’s government shutdown.”
“We’ve seen record obstructionism in this Congress,” she said. “The 113th Congress is on record, on its way to becoming the least productive Congress since World War Two, meaning that they will have passed fewer laws.”
Bellows and others present at the press conference said the partial government shutdown undercut businesses throughout the state, especially those relying on tourists visiting Acadia National Park, which was closed for the duration of the conflict.
Also Wednesday, the Collins campaign held a press conference of its own to push back on what they say is a misleading narrative.
“The Bellows for Senate campaign continues to struggle with the facts,” said Collins’ spokesman Lance Dutson. “They have cited incorrect votes once again, in an effort to diminish Senator Collins’ well-known leadership role in re-opening the government after the shutdown.”
“Democrat, Republican and Independent Senate colleagues are on the record lauding Sen Collins’ instrumental role,” he said. “Bellows’ ludicrous claims that somehow Senator Collins was complicit in shutting down the government is easily refuted by simply checking the votes, and unfortunately Bellows and her team over and over have shown their inability to reconcile their narrative with the facts.”
The dueling press conferences followed dueling advertisements and Web videos issued by the Collins and Bellows campaigns.
Bellows’ video claims Collins voted with “Washington Republicans” to shutdown the federal government twice. It depicts the vote with checked boxes and two dates — September 30, 2013, and October 1, 2013. The Collins campaign responded with a video of their own debunking Bellows’ Web video. (See below)
Wednesday morning Bellows released yet another video regarding the partial government shutdown.
According to the Real Clear Politics polling average, Collins leads Bellows by 30 points.