By MEREDITH DELISO, ABC News
(NEW YORK) — Sara Gideon conceded to Sen. Susan Collins Wednesday afternoon in the fierce Senate race in Maine.
The Democratic challenger delivered a four-minute concession speech that was live-streamed.
“Mainers rallied around our campaign in a way I’ve never seen before. And, while we came up short, I do believe Mainers in every corner of this state are ready to continue to work together to make a difference,” said Gideon, 48, the Democratic speaker of the Maine House of Representatives.
In her speech, Gideon said she spoke to Collins and “congratulated her on winning this election.”
“And I told her that I will always be available to help serve the people of Maine,” Gideon said. “Ultimately, that’s why I entered this race, and it’s why I got involved in public service in the first place.”
This will be the fifth Senate term for Collins, 67, who was considered one of the most vulnerable senators up for reelection. The senator, who was least aligned with President Donald Trump among her Republican colleagues, was not endorsed by the president.
Her win strengthens the Republican party’s chances of retaining control of the Senate.
Gideon was slightly favored to win Maine’s Senate election by FiveThirtyEight. She had won endorsements from groups that had previously backed the incumbent, including the Human Rights Campaign.
Throughout the campaign, Gideon, and the Maine Democratic Party, tried to tie Collins to both Trump and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. It was a prevalent narrative during the candidates’ final debates.
During those debates, Collins was focused on Maine and what she says she’d delivered for the state she’s been representing in the Senate since 1997, including her work on the Paycheck Protection Program. She even took some digs at Gideon, a Rhode Island native, for not being a born-and bred-Mainer.
Before speaking to supporters Wednesday afternoon, Collins confirmed to ABC News that she got a “very gracious call” from Gideon.
Maine’s Secretary of State office told ABC News it gives each municipality two days to count the votes before the office calls any race, so an official call on the Senate race may not come until then.
In the presidential race, ABC News projects that three of Maine’s electoral votes will go to former Vice President Joe Biden and one will go to Trump.
In her speech, Gideon spoke to the challenges that the country faces and the work left to “deliver the change that we need.”
“While this election may be over, we have to work together to build a better future, one where everyone has access to health care they can afford. Where we tackle our climate crisis head-on, and where we restore our economy by prioritizing hardworking people and their families,” she said.
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