Voters must stand up to meddling

Voters in every state, including ours, ought to be outraged at what is going on in Maine. There, massive outside intervention in an election is occurring — and the Russians have nothing to do with it.

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, made headlines last year when she announced she would vote in favor of confirming Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Kavanaugh had been nominated by President Donald Trump, and Democratic Party leaders had vowed to keep him off the court.

They had hoped to persuade Collins, who has a reputation of bipartisanship, to vote with them. When she refused to do so on a crucial vote, Democrat leaders exploded. She would pay, they vowed. It should be noted that no such threat was made against Sen. Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia, the lone Democrat who voted for Kavanaugh.

Collins is up for re-election next year. Already, outside money controlled by Democratic forces is pouring into the state. As The Associated Press reported, “Democrats plan to spend at least $1.2 million on ads” opposing Collins from now through December.

The last time Collins had to run for re-election to the seat she has held since 1997, she had to spend just $5.2 million — a pittance in today’s political environment. She collected 68 percent of the votes that time around.

It is likely she and those who support her will have to find and spend much more than that this time, to counter outside efforts by Democrats determined to punish her for the Kavanaugh vote. No doubt much of the pro-Collins funds will have to come from outside Maine, too.

Election meddling by deep-pocket supporters of both the national Republican and Democratic agendas is nothing new. Most of the time, it is based on a general strategy of electing someone of the party supported by donors.

But the Collins race is different. It is intended to show her — and the good people of Maine who elected her — that national Democratic leaders are the boss. Vote against us, they are saying, and we will punish you.

That sort of meddling ought to be rejected by voters in Maine — and any other state where it occurs.