The fate of whether Rep. John Ratcliffe will be the next Director of National Intelligence may rest on the hands of one of the least dependable Republican Senators when it comes to voting with the party.
Collins is facing a difficult Senate November reelection campaign in Maine.
The most recent poll has her opponent with a 1 point lead, 43 to 42.
Collins is likely to weight whether confirming Ratcliffe would further enrage the anti-Trump constituents in her state who were disappointed she did not vote to convict Trump.
So far, Collins is playing her cards close to her chest.
TheHill reports Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) is once again poised to play a decisive role in determining the fate of a controversial Trump nominee.
Collins, one of the most vulnerable Republicans up for reelection, has emerged as the make-or-break vote for Rep. John Ratcliffe, President Trump’s pick to serve as director of national intelligence. The Texas Republican has been criticized for lacking experience on intelligence issues and for inflating his résumé.
Just weeks ago, Collins was caught up in the maelstrom of Trump’s Senate impeachment trial, where she straddled the middle by voting with Democrats to extend the trial by calling for new evidence but then siding with her GOP colleagues in voting down two articles of impeachment.
And in October 2018, Collins cast the deciding vote for Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
Now she finds herself positioned to play the role of gatekeeper when Ratcliffe comes before the Senate Intelligence Committee, where Republicans hold a one-seat margin. If she votes against Ratcliffe, he would not have the votes needed to advance to the Senate floor with a favorable recommendation.
All Democrats are expected to vote against Ratcliffe, meaning his nomination would fall one vote short if Collins opposes him.
Collins on Tuesday declined to say how she would vote but emphasized she will look closely at Ratcliffe’s qualifications and consider his commitment to the nation’s intelligence community.
“I don’t know Congressman Ratcliffe. As the author of the 2004 law that created the director of national intelligence position, I obviously am very concerned about who the nominee is, the qualifications and the commitment to overseeing the intelligence community in order to provide the best-quality intelligence,” she told reporters.
“I look forward to his hearing and to raising these issues with him,” she added.