Maine could be in for a Susan vs. Susan U.S. Senate battle, if a short tweet Friday from a former aide to President Obama is to be believed.
Susan Rice, a former National Security Adviser and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, teased a possible run after another veteran of Democratic politics, Jen Psaki, tweeted: “Who wants to run for Senate in Maine?”
Rice responded with a single word.
“Me,” she wrote.
The race has drawn early attention now that Republican Sen. Susan Collins, a moderate who has represented the state for decades, has announced her support for Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination. Collins’ decision was closely watched because she had been on the fence — and if Collins hadn’t voted for Kavanaugh, it could have sunk his nomination in the Senate.
But while Republicans cheered the decision, Democrats — Rice included — criticized Collins for agreeing to vote for Kavanaugh after Dr. Christine Blasey Ford came forward with allegations of sexual assault against him. Protesters opposed to Kavanaugh’s nomination had been pushing Collins hard to come out against him.
Rice said in a follow-up tweet that no one should read too closely into her “Me” tweet.
“I’m not making any announcements,” Rice said. “Like so many Americans, I am deeply disappointed in Senator Collins’ vote for Kavanaugh. Maine and America deserve better.”
Rice and her family do have ties to Maine, the Associated Press reported in 2008 when Obama announced her as his U.N. ambassador.
Rice’s mother, Lois Dickson Rice, grew up in Portland and the family keeps a summer home in the state, which Rice often visits, according to the AP.
“Anyone from Maine should be proud because she has such strong Maine roots,” said Rachel Talbot Ross, then-president of Portland’s NAACP, according to the AP. “She represents the ideal that, as her mother once told her, ‘No dream is too bold to embrace.’”
But not everyone with Maine ties is a fan of Rice.
When Rice was given an honorary degree at Bowdoin College in the state, some affiliated with the school suggested her association with the attack on U.S. diplomats in Benghazi should have disqualified her from the honor, the Bowdoin Orient reported.
“I didn’t think it was outrageous or a disgrace — I just thought it was a mistake,” said alumnus George Hillhouse, according to the Orient.
Collins will be up for reelection in 2020. In 2014, she won reelection to her seat with nearly 70 percent of the vote, The New York Times reported.