A group affiliated with the left-leaning Maine People’s Alliance held a rally Sunday in Lewiston to protest what it perceives as a shift by moderate Republican Sen. Susan Collins toward hard-line conservatism since the election of President Trump.

It was the second demonstration organized by the group known as Mainers for Accountable Leadership after a similar rally in Portland on Jan. 29, which the group said drew about 1,000 protesters. It did not respond Sunday to requests for a crowd-size estimate at the rally in downtown Lewiston, and a local police dispatcher said he was not aware the rally had taken place.

The group cited Collins’ initial vote to advance the repeal of the Affordable Care Act and her introduction of Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions at his confirmation hearing for attorney general as evidence of her rightward shift.

“Senator Collins … is moving far to the right to align with Trump,” April Humphrey, the protest group’s co-founder, said in a news release. “There is no broad, sweeping mandate for an extremely conservative agenda in Maine. She is choosing party allegiance over doing what is right for Maine and for America.”

The group also accused Collins of a recent “lack of engagement” with constituents, and asked that she participate in a town hall meeting to listen and respond to their concerns.

Collins spokeswoman Annie Clark disputed the accusation that Collins has embraced a more conservative stance since Trump took office.

“Sen. Collins is approaching her job the same way that she always has,” Clark said via email. “She studies the record, consults with experts, and meets with thousands of Mainers every year. She considers all that information to make the best decisions that she can for Maine and the nation, regardless of political pressure from either side.”

Collins announced last week that she would not support Trump’s nomination for education secretary, Betsy DeVos, citing the nominee’s “lack of experience with public schools.”

J. Craig Anderson can be contacted at 791-6390 or at:

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