2016-08-16 / Front Page

Collins says she will likely vote for write-in candidate

By TAMMY WELLS
Senior Staff Writer

SANFORD — Sen. Susan Collins has already said publicly that she won’t support her fellow Republican and presidential nominee Donald Trump in the November election. But she hasn’t said who she will support.

On Tuesday, Collins said she will very likely write in a candidate for president on Nov. 8, but will more thoroughly examine the Libertarian ticket.

“I’m looking at the two former governors,” said Collins, referring to the Libertarian ticket composed of former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson and former Massachusetts Gov. William “Bill” Weld. Both were Republicans before switching to the Libertarian Party.

Collins, who is generally considered a moderate Republican, spoke briefly with print media reporters Monday following her tour of the Cancer Care Center of York County in south Sanford.

“I think highly of him,” she said of Weld, who was named the vice presidential candidate. “I don’t know Governor Johnson.”

Some of Johnson’s positions are giving her pause, she said.

“Johnson said he was a pretty heavy user of marijuana. That concerns me,” said Collins. She added that she has heard Johnson will “swear off ” marijuana if elected to the presidency.

According to a June 16 USA Today story, Johnson said he’s stopped using marijuana during his presidential bid, telling reporters at that time he had abstained for about seven weeks.

“If Bill Weld were the (presidential) nominee, I would almost certainly vote that way, because I know him well and he was an excellent governor of Massachusetts,” Collins said. “...I suspect I will end up writing in the name of the person (I feel) is best suited to be president.”

Last week, Collins wrote in an op-ed piece in the Washington Post that she will not be supporting Trump in his bid for the presidency.

“This is not a decision I make lightly, for I am a lifelong Republican,” Collins wrote. “But Donald Trump does not reflect historical Republican values nor the inclusive approach to governing that is critical to healing the divisions in our country.”

Trump “lacks the temperament, self-discipline and judgment required to be president,” Collins wrote.

She noted his apparent mocking of a reporter with a disability (Trump says he wasn’t mocking the man), and his criticism of a judge’s Hispanic heritage and of a Muslim family whose son was killed fighting in the Iraq War.

“The unpleasant reality that I have had to accept is that there will be no ‘new’ Donald Trump,” Collins wrote, “just the same candidate who will slash and burn and trample anything and anyone he perceives as being in his way or an easy scapegoat.”

Collins also said she does not support Democrat Hillary Clinton, according to an Aug. 8 Associated Press story, which quoted her Washington Post column.

— Senior Staff Writer Tammy Wells can be contacted at 324-4444 (local call in Sanford) or 282-1535, ext. 327 or twells@journaltribune.com. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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