Women Are Funding a Campaign to Unseat Susan Collins if She Votes for Kavanaugh

Women are the majority of donors contributing to a $1.2 million fund threatening Maine Senator Susan Collins' seat if she votes to confirm Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

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Sep 13 2018, 5:46pm

Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A political action committee has raised enough money to launch a more than $1.2 million campaign to unseat Maine Senator Susan Collins if she votes to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court—and women are the majority of the donors funding it.

According to new data from policy research firm Data for Progress, released exclusively to Broadly, there's a rough 60–40 gender split among the donors, with women making up 58.4 percent of the donor pool, and men, 39.8 percent. A little more than two percent couldn't be determined.

Data for Progress arrived at these findings using data provided to its researchers by Crowdpac, the progressive political crowdfunding group that started the campaign in August, a few weeks out of Kavanaugh's Senate confirmation hearings.

On Tuesday, in a statement to Newsmax, Collins likened the crowdfunding campaign to a political bribe trying to buy her vote. “I consider this quid pro quo fundraising to be the equivalent of an attempt to bribe me to vote against Judge Kavanaugh," Collins told the outlet.

Because of her unique position in the Senate as a Republican known to vote on occasion with Democrats, Collins has been the target of a number of initiatives to block Kavanaugh's confirmation, largely led by those who fear for the future of Roe v. Wade under a conservative-leaning Supreme Court.

Collins, though a self-proclaimed believer in women's right to choose, has hinted that she's leaning toward voting yes on Kavanaugh. In the run-up to his confirmation hearings, Collins met with Kavanaugh and called him a "qualified" nominee, adding that Kavanaugh assured her he considers Roe v. Wade "settled law"—a position that means very little to abortion rights advocates.

These advocates have made it clear that Collins will have to answer for her vote at the ballot box in 2020, and it will largely be women to whom she's answering, being that Data for Progress' findings show they're the ones digging into their wallets to fund her opponent.

"These data suggest that Collins should think twice before a disastrous vote that would set women back decades and endanger her seat," Marie Follayttar, the co-director of Mainers for Accountable Leadership, a Maine-based watchdog group involved in Crowdpac's $1.2 million campaign, tells Broadly in a statement. "Mainers have been clear—we want to protect women’s health, and Collins knows she’s betraying us if she votes for Kavanaugh."

The numbers align with a broader trend this year, of a greater number of women contributing to political causes. In May, the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan research group based in D.C., found that women's donation to federal candidates has surged 182 percent since the 2016 election cycle, making up 46 percent of all donors in 2018 so far.

"Women are driving the resistance in more ways than one," Sean McElwee, a cofounder at Data for Progress, says. "These numbers are stunning—for decades, the big-dollar donor class has disproportionately represented the views of men. The small-dollar revolution is real, and it's being led by women."