Protestors gather in the Portland, Maine office of Republican U.S. senator Susan Collins. Photos: Tristan Spinski

The Grassroots Plot to Take Down Susan Collins

On the ground with the Maine activists working to flip her seat and take back the Senate

Max Ufberg
Published in
13 min readDec 12, 2019

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TThe cars that crawled by the protestors were mostly courteous. Around noon on a frigid November day in Bangor, Maine, the normally sleepy downtown plaza showed signs of life as roughly two dozen people held up signs that said things like “Make Truth Matter Again” and “Senators: neglect becomes complicity” and, more bluntly, “You Lied!” The city square adjoins the main street, which is full of modest brick storefronts — a noodle bar, an Irish pub, and an outdoor sports retailer, all fitting witnesses to this equally modest display of democracy. A pickup truck drove by and the front-seat passenger gave a friendly wave to the group gathered here to urge passersby to vote against President Trump and Maine’s senior U.S. senator, Susan Collins. Minutes later, a car full of teenagers sped by and someone yelled “Trump rules!” in the activists’ direction. The demonstrators, most of whom appeared to be in their sixties and seventies, shrugged it off.

A few yards behind the picketers, Marie Follayttar, one of the leaders behind the protest and arguably the most significant progressive organizer in a state that’ll inarguably see one of the most significant elections of 2020, gently chided another member…

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Max Ufberg
GEN
Writer for

Writer and editor. Previously at Medium, Pacific Standard, Wired