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Susan Collins' Milestone Involves a Number: 7,000

Senator casts her 7,000th straight vote
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 18, 2019 4:17 PM CDT
Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, joined by Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., right, arrives at the Capitol to extend her perfect Senate voting record to 7,000.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

(Newser) – Republican Sen. Susan Collins on Tuesday took her 7,000th consecutive vote as a member of the Senate, extending a streak she has carefully maintained over more than two decades. Keeping the perfect voting record intact hasn't been easy. Collins is careful to schedule flights back to Washington on Sunday nights, to give her some wiggle-room in the event of a canceled flight. She scheduled her wedding during the August recess in 2012, just to be safe. Senate leadership, respectful of her voting streak, last year scheduled no votes when she was in Maine for her father's funeral, reports the AP. Another time, she twisted her ankle racing, in heels, to a vote when then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid ordered a roll call while she was in a Homeland Security Committee meeting.

Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa has a longer voting streak, at 8,446, even though he can't boast a perfect voting record like Collins. While Grassley's and Collins' voting streaks are lengthy, they fall shy of high-water mark set by the late Wisconsin Democrat William Proxmire. He had 10,252 consecutive votes from April 20, 1966, to Oct. 18, 1988. The milestone comes as the 66-year-old Collins is gearing up for a reelection race in 2020 that is expected to be competitive. She's New England's only Republican senator, and her extensive voting record, while an accomplishment, also gives her opponents ample ammunition. Collins says the streak shows her commitment to the job.

(Read more Susan Collins stories.)

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