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Political Brew: GOP condemns Collins’ vote; Biden’s window of opportunity; and a ‘State of the Budget’ wish list

Our analysts this week are longtime Democratic activist Betsy Sweet and former Republican state Senator Phil Harriman.

MAINE, USA — The Maine Republican Party has condemned Sen. Susan Collins' vote to convict former President Donald Trump on a charge of inciting the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

The letter is signed by 38 state party officials who wrote that the party's grassroots are “almost universally outraged” by the impeachment trial.

Collins pointed out that she is the last Republican in federal office in New England, down from 19 when she first went to Washington. And she told NEWS CENTER Maine that the focus should be on growing the party, rather than on one particular leader.

Phil Harriman says we need people like Susan Collins to be a voice in our government, and he warns that "for her to be the only one in New England should tell Republicans we need to make sure that we are more inclusive rather than more restrictive."

Betsy Sweet says the condemnation letter shows "a party that's at war with itself," with two factions: "One that has a strong Republican party of Olympia Snowe and Bill Cohen and Susan Collins, and then there's the Republican party of Donald Trump."

RELATED: Maine GOP leaders sign letter condemning Collins for vote to convict Trump

RELATED: Collins: Republicans should focus on 'growing the party' rather than on one leader, after vote to convict Trump

With the impeachment trial over, President Joe Biden has the spotlight to himself.

Sweet says she wants to see Biden spend his political capital in three areas: fighting the pandemic, health care—which she says the American people do not see as a partisan issue—and addressing climate change.

Harriman thinks too many of Biden's proposals are one-sided and liberal.

"I think he really needs to find ways now to engage Republicans on issues that they can make progress on,” Harriman said.

On Tuesday, Gov. Janet Mills will deliver a State of the Budget address—virtually, instead of in front of a joint session of the legislature.

Harriman hopes the governor can deliver a hopeful message about what's in store for Maine.

He wants her to be able to say, "The end of this pandemic is in sight, our kids are going to go back to school, we're going to drop down these restrictions, we're going to open up the economy, we're going to welcome tourists and all of the things that people are so ready to hear."

Sweet hopes Mills talks about helping Mainers in need.

"We have people in Maine who are desperate, without jobs, small businesses who are desperate,” Sweet said. “We need to spend money in this time of crisis [to help the economy], but more importantly that vulnerable people are taken care of. I want her to stand up and state the need and say we are going to have a budget to meet this moment."

Political Brew airs Sundays on The Weekend Morning Report.

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