PORTLAND (AP) — U.S. Sen. Susan Collins on Thursday cast her 5,000th consecutive vote, a milestone in a perfect voting record that dates to her arrival in Washington in January 1997.

The Maine Republican has gone to great lengths to ensure her flawless record, once twisting her ankle while running to the Senate floor and another time deplaning from a commercial flight to race back to Capitol Hill. She also takes great care to ensure she isn’t snowbound in Maine in the winter.

Thursday’s vote related to a small business tax incentive bill was uneventful.

Afterward, the Senate gave her a round of applause.

Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky described Collins’ feat as “a tenacious accomplishment that represents the work ethic and dedication Senator Collins has for the people of Maine and the Senate.”

McConnell’s Democratic counterpart, Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, joked that “it’s ridiculous the example she’s set of never missing a vote.”

Only Republican Chuck Grassley of Iowa, with more than 6,445 consecutive votes, has a longer streak. The late William Proxmire of Wisconsin holds the all-time Senate record with 10,252 consecutive votes.

Collins said it’s important in an era where people are frustrated with politics and have a low opinion of Congress to show she’s representing Maine on every vote.

“I recognize that someday, something is going to happen that’s going to prevent me from doing so but thus far it’s been 15 and a half years, so I’ve really pleased to be able to accomplish that,” she said days before Thursday’s vote.

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.