Republican Senators Adopt Underdog Playbook

Oxford County, straddling Maine’s border with Canada and the New Hampshire state line, deserves its own Senate debate. So says Republican Sen. Susan Collins.

Collins is running for another six years in the job she was first elected to in 1996, facing Democratic state House Speaker Sara Gideon in a race central to each party’s efforts to win a Senate majority in November. Collins is calling for 16 debates, one for each Maine county, no matter the population size — or lack thereof. While Oxford County, with about 57,000 residents, would get a Senate debate, so would Piscataquis County, in Maine’s forested center, with about 17,000 residents.

It’s an unusual, but not unprecedented, debate play by Collins. Usually, incumbents are loathe to hold too many debates because they boost opponents’ name recognition. But when they seem to be losing, calling for more debates can put a rival on the defensive.

And incumbents do sometimes call for more debates than challengers. In North Carolina, Republican Sen. Thom Tillis is doing so against his Democratic opponent, former state senator and Iraq War veteran Cal Cunningham. So are endangered Republican Sens. Steve Daines in MontanaJoni Ernst in Iowa, and Cory Gardner in Colorado, Kall said. Each is calling for at least four debates.

Continue reading at the Washington Examiner.