Susan Collins

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Susan Collins
Susan Collins.jpg
U.S. Senate, Maine
In office
January 3, 1997-Present
Term ends
January 3, 2015
Years in position 18
PredecessorWilliam S. Cohen (R)
Base salary$174,000/year
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 4, 2008
First electedNovember 5, 1996
Next general November 4, 2014
Campaign $$12,306,142
Term limitsN/A
High schoolCaribou High School
Bachelor'sSt. Lawrence University
Date of birthDecember 7, 1952
Place of birthCaribou, ME
Net worth$205,002
ReligionRoman Catholic
Office website
Susan Margaret Collins (b. December 7, 1952, in Caribou, Maine) is a Republican member of the U.S. Senate from Maine. Collins was first elected to the Senate in 1996 and is currently serving her third term.

She is set to run for re-election in Maine in November 4, 2014.[1]

Prior to her election in the Senate Collins served as Deputy State Treasurer of Massachusetts.[2]

Based on analysis of multiple outside rankings, Collins is a more moderate right of center Republican Party vote. As a result, she may break with the Republican Party line more than her fellow members.


Collins was born in 1952 in Caribou, ME, where she also attended high school. She earned her B.A. from St. Lawrence University in 1975. Before seeking office herself, Collins had worked on the staff of now-former Senator William S. Cohen.[2]


Below is an abbreviated outline of Collins' professional and political career[2]:

  • Staff Director of the Senate Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on the Oversight of Government Management, 1981-1987
  • Commissioner of the Maine Department of Professional and Financial Regulation, 1987-1992
  • New England Regional Director, United States Small Business Administration, 1992
  • Deputy State Treasurer of the State of Massachusetts, 1993
  • U.S. Senate, 1997-Present

Committee assignments

U.S. Senate


Collins serves on the following Senate committees[3]:

  • Appropriations Committee
    • Subcommittee on Transportation and Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies
    • Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies
    • Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development
    • Subcommittee on Department of Defense
    • Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies
    • Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies
  • United States Senate Committee on Intelligence (Select)
  • Special Committee on Aging, Ranking Member


Collins served on the following Senate committees[4]:


Specific votes

Fiscal Cliff

Voted "Yes" Collins voted for the fiscal cliff compromise bill, which made permanent most of the Bush tax cuts originally passed in 2001 and 2003 while also raising tax rates on the highest income levels. The bill was passed in the Senate by a 89/8 vote on January 1, 2013.[5]

Paul Ryan Budget Proposal

Nay3.png In March 2013 the U.S. Senate soundly rejected a balanced budget plan by House Budget Committee chair Paul Ryan (R).[6] Five Republicans joined every Democrat present to kill the measure, which failed on a 40-59 vote.[6]

Collins was one of the five Senate Republicans who voted against Ryan's budget proposal.[6]

The proposed budget would have cut about $5 trillion over the next decade and aimed to balance the budget by the end of the 10-year period.[7]

Some tea party members of the GOP opposed the measure because of its reliance on $600 billion-plus in tax revenues on the wealthy enacted in January 2013, in order to balance the budget.[6] Others in the Senate opposed the Ryan plan because of cuts from safety net programs for the poor and the inclusion of a plan to turn the Medicare program for the elderly into a voucher-like system for future beneficiaries born in 1959 or later.[6]

Expanded background checks on gun sales

Yea3.png On April 17, 2013, the U.S. Senate took a vote on and defeated a measure that would have expanded federal background checks for firearms purchases.[8] The vote was 54-46, with supporters falling six votes short of the required 60-vote threshold.[9] Collins was one of the 4 Republican Senators who voted in favor of the measure.[10]

Drones filibuster

See also: Rand Paul filibuster of John Brennan's CIA Nomination in March 2013

On March 6, 2013, Senator Rand Paul (R) led a 13-hour filibuster of President Obama's CIA Director nominee, John Brennan. Paul started the filibuster in order to highlight his concerns about the administration's drone policies. In particular, Paul said he was concerned about whether a drone could be used to kill an American citizen within the United States border, without any due process involved. Paul and other civil liberties activists criticized President Obama for not offering a clear response to the question. A total of 14 senators joined Paul in the filibuster -- 13 Republicans and one Democrat.[11][12][13]

According to the website Breitbart, Collins was one of 30 Republican senators who did not support the filibuster.[14][15]

The day after the filibuster, Attorney General Eric Holder sent a letter to Paul, responding to the filibuster. Holder wrote, "Does the president have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on U.S. soil? The answer to that is no."[16]

DHS speculation

Upon Janet Napolitano's retirement from head of the Department of Homeland Security, there was speculation that Collins may have been tapped for the position. On July 16, 2013, she told reporters, "The White House has not contacted me, I do not expect to be contacted by the White House and I am very happy being senator from Maine and I’m fully committed to seeking reelection." [17]



On November 4, 2008, Susan Collins won re-election to the United States Senate. She defeated Thomas H. Allen (D) in the general election.[18]

U.S. Senate, Maine General Election, 2008
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngSusan Collins incumbent 61.3% 444,300
     Democratic Thomas H. Allen 38.6% 279,510
     N/A Other 0.1% 620
Total Votes 724,430

Full history

Campaign donors

Comprehensive donor information for Collins is available dating back to 2002. Based on available campaign finance records, Collins raised a total of $12,306,142 during that time period. This information was last updated on April 19, 2013.[21]

Susan Collins's Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2008 U.S. House of Representatives (New York, District 15) Won $8,039,750
2002 U.S. Senate, Maine Won $4,266,392
Grand Total Raised $12,306,142


Candidates for Congress are required to file up to seven main reports with the Federal Election Commission during the 2014 elections season. Below are Collins’ reports.[22]

Susan Collins (2014) Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
April Quarterly[23]April 15, 2013$921,220.26$374,028.55$(63,543.74)$1,231,705.07
July Quarterly[24]July 15, 2013$1,231,705.07$1,043,327.00$(188,503.22)$2,086,528.85
Running totals


Breakdown of the source of Collins' campaign funds before the 2008 election.

Collins won re-election to the U.S. Senate in 2008. During that re-election cycle, Collins' campaign committee raised a total of $8,039,750 and spent $7,996,626.[25]


Ideology and leadership

See also: GovTrack's Political Spectrum & Legislative Leadership ranking'

Based on an analysis of bill sponsorship by GovTrack, Collins is a "centrist Republican leader" as of June 27, 2013.[26]

Like-minded colleagues

The website OpenCongress tracks the voting records of each member to determine with whom he or she votes most and least often. The results include a member from each party.[27]

Collins most often votes with:

Collins least often votes with:

Lifetime voting record

See also: Lifetime voting records of United States Senators and Representatives

According to the website GovTrack, Collins missed 0 of 5,172 roll call votes from Jan 1997 to Apr 2013, which is 0.0% of votes during that period. This is better than the median of 1.7% among the lifetime records of senators currently serving.[28]

Congressional staff salaries

See also: Staff salaries of United States Senators and Representatives

The website Legistorm compiles staff salary information for members of Congress. Collins paid her congressional staff a total of $2,549,604 in 2011. She ranked 16th on the list of the highest paid Republican senatorial staff salaries and ranked 50th overall of the lowest paid senatorial staff salaries in 2011. Overall, Maine ranked 41st in average salary for senatorial staff. The average U.S. Senate congressional staff was paid $2,529,141.70 in fiscal year 2011.[29]

Net worth

See also: Net Worth of United States Senators and Representatives


Based on congressional financial disclosure forms and calculations made available by, Collins' net worth as of 2011 was estimated between $110,005 and $300,000. This averages to $205,002, a decrease of 17.17% since 2010. This is lower than the average net worth of Republican Senators in 2011 of $6,358,668.[30]


Based on congressional financial disclosure forms and calculations made available by, Collins' net worth as of 2010 was estimated between $145,005 and $350,000. That averages to $247,502.50, which is lower than the average net worth of Republican Senators in 2010 of $7,054,258.[31]

National Journal vote ratings

See also: National Journal vote ratings

Each year, National Journal publishes an analysis of how liberally or conservatively each member of Congress voted, as compared to other members, in the previous year. More information about the analysis process can be found on the vote ratings page.


According to the data released in 2013, Collins was ranked the 47th most conservative senator during 2012.[32]


According to the data released in 2012, Susan Collins was ranked the 47th most conservative senator during 2011.[33]

Voting with party

June 2013

Susan Collins voted with the Republican Party 61.5% of the time, which ranked 46 among the 46 Senate Republican members as of June 2013.

Recent news

This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the term Susan + Collins + Maine + Senate

All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.

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Collins lives in Bangor, Maine.[34] In August 2012 she married Thomas Daffron, chief operating officer of Jefferson Consulting Group, a lobbying and consulting firm in Washington, and a former chief of staff to Senators William Cohen, Fred Thompson and Lisa Murkowski. This was her first marriage, his second.[35]

She is the niece of former Maine Supreme Judicial Court justice Samuel Collins, Jr.

External links


  1. USA Today "Moderate GOP Sen. Collins intends to run again," accessed July, 2013
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Biographical Guide to Members of Congress "Susan Collins," Accessed October 25, 2011
  3. Congressional Quarterly "Senate Committee List" Accessed January 22, 2013
  4. Official Senate Website "Committee Assignments," Accessed October 25, 2011
  5. U.S. Senate "Roll Call Vote on the Fiscal Cliff" Accessed January 4, 2013.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 CBS News, "Senate Rejects Paul Ryan Budget," accessed March 22, 2013
  7. Washington Post, "10 House Republicans Vote Against Ryan Budget," accessed March 22, 2013
  8. NPR "Senate Rejects Expanded Background Checks For Gun Sales" accessed April 19, 2013
  9. Fox News "Background check plan defeated in Senate, Obama rips gun bill opponents" accessed April 19, 2013
  10. NPR "Historically Speaking, No Surprise In Senate Gun Control Vote" accessed April 19, 2013
  11. CNN, "Rand Paul says he's heard from White House after filibuster," March 7, 2013
  12. USA Today, "Rand Paul filibuster ranks among Senate's longest," March 7, 2013
  13. ABC News, "Rand Paul wins applause from GOP and liberals," March 7, 2013
  14. Breitbart, "AWOL: Meet the GOP senators who refused to stand with Rand," March 7, 2013
  15. Politico, "Rand Paul filibuster blasted by Sens. John McCain, Lindsey Graham," March 7, 2013
  16. Washington Post, "Eric Holder responds to Rand Paul with ‘no’," March 7, 2013
  17. Washington Post, "Susan Collins: No thanks on DHS secretary," accessed July 16, 2013
  18. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 4, 2008," accessed March 28, 2013
  19. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 5, 2002," accessed March 28, 2013
  20. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 5, 1996," accessed March 28, 2013
  21. Open Secrets "Career Fundraising for Charles Rangel" April 2013
  22. Federal Election Commission "Susan Collins Summary Report," Accessed July 25, 2013
  23. Federal Election Commission "Susan Collins April Quarterly," Accessed July 25, 2013
  24. Federal Election Commission "Susan Collins July Quarterly," Accessed July 25, 2013
  25. Open Secrets "Susan Collins 2008 Election Cycle," Accessed October 25, 2011
  26. Gov Track "Susan Collins," Accessed June 27, 2013
  27. OpenCongress, "Susan Collins," Accessed August 9, 2013
  28. GovTrack, "Chris Collins" Accessed April 2013
  29. LegiStorm "Susan Collins"
  30., "Collins, (R-Maine), 2011"
  31., "Collins, (R-Maine), 2010"
  32. National Journal, "TABLE: House Liberal Scores by Issue Area," February 26, 2013
  33. National Journal, "Searchable Vote Ratings Tables: House," February 23, 2012
  34. Official Senate Page "Biography," Accessed October 25, 2011
  35. Susan Collins and Thomas Daffron, The New York Times, August 12, 2012
Political offices
Preceded by
William Cohen
U.S. Senate - Maine
Succeeded by