Moderates look to wield clout in GOP-led Senate

WASHINGTON (AP) — Soft-spoken Republican Sen. Susan Collins is quite popular these days, fielding calls from President Barack Obama, members of the GOP leadership and top Senate Democrats Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer.

The outreach was more than just congratulations for winning a fourth term. Both parties have an incentive for courting Collins.

Come January, the centrist from Maine will be a crucial member of a group of moderates wielding considerable clout in the Republican-led Senate.

The GOP likely will hold 54 seats next year, six short of the 60 necessary to break Democratic delaying tactics. Incoming Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would need the support of Maine’s independent Angus King and Democrats such as North Dakota’s Heidi Heitkamp, West Virginia’s Joe Manchin, Indiana’s Joe Donnelly and Jon Tester of Montana.


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