Sara Gideon

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Sara Gideon
102nd Speaker of the Maine House of Representatives
In office
December 7, 2016 – December 2, 2020
Preceded byMark Eves
Succeeded byRyan Fecteau
Member of the Maine House of Representatives
from the 48th district
In office
December 5, 2012 – December 2, 2020
Preceded byCharles Kruger
Succeeded byMelanie Sachs
Personal details
Born (1971-12-04) December 4, 1971 (age 49)
Rhode Island, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Benjamin Rogoff Gideon
(m. 2001)
EducationGeorge Washington University (BA)
WebsiteCampaign website

Sara I. Gideon[1] (born December 4, 1971) is an American politician who served as the Speaker of the Maine House of Representatives.[2] A member of the Democratic Party from Freeport, she represented the 48th district in the Maine House of Representatives, which includes part of Freeport and Pownal in Cumberland County.[3]

Gideon was the Democratic nominee for the 2020 U.S. Senate election in Maine, losing to incumbent Republican Susan Collins.

Early life and education[edit]

Gideon was born and raised in Rhode Island. Her father, a pediatrician, is from India and her mother, a nurse clinician, is a second-generation Armenian American.[4][5]

Gideon is the youngest of four siblings, one of whom, Melanie, is a novelist.[6][7] She graduated from East Greenwich High School in East Greenwich, Rhode Island, in 1989.[8] In 1994, she earned a Bachelor of Arts in international affairs from George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs in Washington, D.C.[9]


Early career[edit]

She served as an intern for U.S. Senator Claiborne Pell.[10] She also worked as an advertising account executive at USA Today.[11][12]

In 2004, Gideon moved to Freeport, Maine.[12] In October 2009, she won a seat on the Freeport Town Council.[13] She served until 2012, and was the council's vice chair beginning in 2011.[9]

Maine House of Representatives[edit]

First elected to the Maine House of Representatives in 2012, Gideon was reelected in 2014 and chosen as Assistant Majority Leader.[14] In 2016, she was elected as Speaker by the House.[15] As speaker, Gideon also supported Medicaid expansion in Maine, including the 2017 referendum on the topic, and helped override Governor Paul LePage's veto of a bill to make the anti-overdose drug naloxone (Narcan) available over-the-counter,[16] aimed at preventing deaths from the opioid epidemic.[17]

Gideon was a member of the Legislature's Joint Standing Committee on Energy, Utilities and Technology. According to India Abroad, "she worked to lower energy costs, encourage increased energy efficiency and promote clean and renewable energy to capitalize on Maine's natural resources and build a clean-energy economy."[5]

After Democratic Governor Janet Mills was elected in 2018, the Maine Legislature under Gideon's speakership passed several key climate change bills, including a measure requiring Maine to achieve 80 percent renewable energy by 2030 and 100 percent by 2050.[18] As speaker in 2019 and 2020, Gideon also sponsored legislation to expand abortion access by allowing physician assistants and advanced practice registered nurses to perform the procedure.[19] She sponsored legislation to block the Quebec power company Hydro-Québec from spending money to influence a referendum of a controversial proposed power line project in Maine.[20]

In 2019, Gideon faced an election ethics complaint for accepting reimbursements for her personal political donations from her own PAC.[21] A spokesperson said, "The contributions were within the legal limit and fully disclosed, but the committee was given incorrect guidance on how to process them."[21] The campaign said that it had reimbursed the federal government $3,250 for the violations and closed the PAC.[22] In October 2019, the Maine Ethics Commission voted unanimously to fine the closed PAC $500.[22]

2020 U.S. Senate campaign[edit]

On June 24, 2019, Gideon announced her candidacy in the 2020 Senate election to challenge incumbent Republican Susan Collins.[23] In the first week of her campaign, she raised more than $1 million.[24] Gideon ran against Betsy Sweet and Bre Kidman in the ranked-choice Democratic primary election.[18] In the primary, Gideon received support from the mainstream of the Democratic Party, while Sweet and Kidman drew support from the party's insurgent progressive wing.[18] Before the July 14 primary, Gideon was endorsed by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee[25][26] as well as labor unions and women's groups.[18] Gideon led in primary election polling,[18] and won the primary with roughly 70% of the vote.[26][27] By the time of the primary election, she had raised $23 million.[27]

In 2019, the League of Conservation Voters Action Fund endorsed Gideon.[28] Following her Democratic primary win in June, Gideon received endorsements from NARAL, EMILY's List, Progressive Democrats of America, Brand New Congress, and Our Revolution.[29] In August, former President Barack Obama endorsed Gideon.[30] In 2020, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the country's largest LGBTQ rights advocacy organization, opposed the reelection of Susan Collins and instead endorsed Gideon. It is the first time that the HRC has opposed Collins, who has been seen as a key Republican vote on LGBTQ rights.[31]

The Bangor Daily News endorsed Gideon in the Democratic primary in June 2020.[32]

Political positions[edit]

Gideon states that she has made affordable drugs and health care her primary campaign issues. She supports the Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare"). She also supports a public health insurance option,[18] which would allow Americans to buy into Medicare while also retaining a private health insurance market.[33][34] She supports allowing Medicare to negotiate lower prices for prescription drugs, and a prohibition on pharmaceutical company "pay to delay" agreements.[18]

In the state House, Gideon sponsored legislation to expand abortion access and extend benefits to families in poverty.[35] She states she will fight any attempts to attack or defund Planned Parenthood; will work to roll back the Title X gag rule, which has impacted Maine Family Planning and Planned Parenthood clinics. Gideon has been endorsed by Planned Parenthood Action Fund and NARAL.[36] Gideon opposed the Trump tax bill.[33] Gideon supports the U.S. rejoining the Paris Agreement to combat climate change; the U.S. entered the agreement under Barack Obama, but withdrew under Donald Trump.[18] She supports government funding for the development of renewable energy (e.g. solar, wind, geo-thermal) and the federal regulation of greenhouse gas emissions.[36] Gideon supports universal background checks and red flag laws,[37] and has expressed support for high-capacity magazine restrictions.[38] Gideon supports various police reforms, including a police misconduct registry and requirements for the use of body cameras and vehicle cameras.[18]

Personal life[edit]

Gideon married attorney Benjamin Rogoff Gideon, in November 2001.[6] Ben Gideon is a medical malpractice and personal injury attorney at Gideon Asen LLC.[39]

Electoral history[edit]


Maine House of Representatives District 106, 2012 Democratic Primary[40]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Sara Gideon 534 50.47%
Democratic Melanie F. Sachs 470 44.30%
Democratic Patrick T. Norton 46 4.34%
Blank 11 1.04%
Total votes 1,061 100%
Maine House of Representatives District 106, 2012 General Election[41]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Sara Gideon 3,525 62.85%
Republican Jody James 1,837 32.75%
Blank 247 4.40%
Total votes 5,609 100%
Democratic hold


Maine House of Representatives District 48, 2014 General Election[42]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Sara Gideon (incumbent) 3,226 63.93%
Republican Paul Schulz 1,589 31.49%
Blank 231 4.58%
Total votes 5,046 100%
Democratic hold


Maine House of Representatives District 48, 2016 General Election[43]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Sara Gideon (incumbent) 3,994 66.08%
Republican Paul Schulz 1,589 30.46%
Blank 209 3.46%
Total votes 6,044 100%
Democratic hold


Maine House of Representatives District 48, 2018 General Election[44]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Sara Gideon (incumbent) 4,003 71.85%
Republican Paul Schulz 1,440 25.85%
Blank 128 2.30%
Total votes 5,571 100%
Democratic hold


2020 United States Senate election in Maine, Democratic Primary[45]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Sara Gideon 116,264 71.5
Democratic Betsy Sweet 37,327 22.9
Democratic Bre Kidman 9,090 5.6
Total votes 162,681 100.0%
2020 United States Senate election in Maine, General Election[46]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Susan Collins (incumbent) 417,645 50.98%
Democratic Sara Gideon 347,223 42.39%
Independent Lisa Savage 40,579 4.95%
Independent Max Linn 13,508 1.65%
Write-in 228 0.03%
Total votes 819,183 100.0%
Republican hold

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "2020 Maine Sample Ballot" (PDF).
  2. ^ "Maine House of Representatives: Sara Gideon". Retrieved December 15, 2014.
  3. ^ Gardner, Kate (November 5, 2014). "Democrats Cooper, Gideon retain southern Maine House seats". The Forecaster. Bangor Daily News. Retrieved December 15, 2014.
  4. ^ Porter, Steven (August 25, 2020). "Sara Gideon talks health care priorities with York Hospital staff". Retrieved October 10, 2020.
  5. ^ a b "Indian-American Sara Gideon announces bid to unseat longtime Maine Senator Susan Collins". June 25, 2019. Retrieved November 15, 2019.
  6. ^ a b Collins, Steve (September 21, 2020). "Sister's book offers a glimpse into Sara Gideon's past". Lewiston Sun Journal.
  7. ^ "Who is Sara Gideon, Indian-origin Politician and Mom That Obama is Endorsing for US Senate?". News18. August 6, 2020. Retrieved October 10, 2020.
  8. ^ McNamara, Elizabeth (June 25, 2019). "EGHS Alum Sara Gideon ('89) In Race for U.S. Senate in Maine". East Greenwich News. Retrieved February 22, 2020.
  9. ^ a b "2014 Maine Elections: Sara Gideon". Portland Press Herald. Portland, ME. 2014.
  10. ^ Touchberry, Ramsey (June 24, 2019). "Who Is Sara Gideon? Democrat Challenges Susan Collins, Cites Senator's Vote for Brett Kavanaugh". Retrieved June 24, 2019.
  11. ^ "Sara Gideon". Project Vote Smart. Retrieved December 15, 2014.
  12. ^ a b Andrade, Jane Carroll (June 6, 2018). "Maine House Speaker Sara Gideon". The Final Word. National Conference of State Legislatures. Retrieved June 24, 2019.
  13. ^ Anderson, Amy (October 6, 2009). "Freeport Sewer District election draws 5 candidates; Town Council race uncontested". Portland Press Herald. Portland, ME.
  14. ^ Cousins, Christopher (November 12, 2014). "Maine Democrats fill legislative leadership posts". Bangor Daily News. Bangor, ME.
  15. ^ Scott Thistle (November 18, 2016). "Democrats pick Freeport's Rep. Sara Gideon to be next speaker of Maine House". Press Herald. Retrieved June 24, 2019.
  16. ^ Jones, Sarah (June 24, 2019). "Susan Collins Has a New Democratic Challenger". The Cut. Retrieved August 5, 2019.
  17. ^ Kamp, Jon (April 16, 2018). "Maine Lawmakers Clash With Governor Over Naloxone Access". Wall Street Journal.
  18. ^ a b c d e f g h i Piper, Jessica (June 28, 2020). "How the 3 Maine Democrats running for US Senate differ on voters' top priorities". Bangor Daily News.
  19. ^ Wright, Patty (May 21, 2019). "Bill To Expand Abortion Providers In Maine Gets Ok In House". Maine Public Radio.
  20. ^ Mistler, Steve (March 5, 2020). "Maine Bill Would Prevent Hydro-Quebec From Spending To Influence Referendum On Powerline". Maine Public Radio.
  21. ^ a b Bowden, John (August 23, 2019). "Susan Collins challenger hit with ethics complaints over reimbursements". The Hill. Retrieved July 16, 2020.
  22. ^ a b Andrews, Caitlin (October 30, 2019). "Maine ethics watchdog fines Sara Gideon's political committee over reimbursed contributions". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved August 24, 2020.
  23. ^ Pindell, James (June 24, 2019). "Sara Gideon, speaker of the Maine House, to challenge Susan Collins". The Boston Globe. Retrieved June 24, 2019.
  24. ^ "Sara Gideon touts early fundraising success in run for Senate seat". WABI-TV. Associated Press. July 3, 2019. Retrieved July 4, 2019.
  25. ^ Everett, Burgess (August 26, 2019). "Inside Susan Collins' reelection fight in the age of Trump". Politico.
  26. ^ a b Ackley, Kate (July 14, 2020). "DSCC-backed Sara Gideon wins primary to face Sen. Susan Collins in Maine". Roll Call.
  27. ^ a b Cochrane, Emily (July 14, 2020). "Sara Gideon Wins Nomination to Challenge Susan Collins in Maine". The New York Times.
  28. ^ Rich, Aliyah (November 14, 2019). "LCV Action Fund Endorsers Sara Gideon for Senate". LCV (Press release). Retrieved August 20, 2020.
  29. ^ "Sara Gideon". Ballotpedia. Retrieved July 30, 2020.
  30. ^ Fink, Jenni (August 7, 2020). "Trump-Backed Collins Trails Obama-Endorsed Gideon in Maine Senate Race". Newsweek. Retrieved August 8, 2020.
  31. ^ Weigel, David (July 15, 2020). "Major LGBTQ rights group breaks with Sen. Susan Collins, endorses Democratic opponent Sara Gideon". The Washington Post. Retrieved August 20, 2020.
  32. ^ press release. "Bangor Daily News Editorial Board: "Sara Gideon is the strongest choice in Democratic US Senate Primary"". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved October 30, 2020.
  33. ^ a b Leary, Mal (December 2, 2019). "Sara Gideon On The Issues That Are Most Important To Maine Democrats". Maine Public Radio.
  34. ^ Prignano, Christina (July 15, 2020). "Who is Sara Gideon? A look at the Democratic challenger to Maine's Susan Collins". Boston Globe.
  35. ^ Saul, Stephanie (June 24, 2019). "Sara Gideon to Challenge Susan Collins for Maine Senate Seat". The New York Times. Retrieved August 5, 2019.
  36. ^ a b "Sara Gideon's Issue Positions". Vote Smart. Retrieved July 30, 2020.
  37. ^ Troutman, Caitlin (August 20, 2019). "Maine 'Moms Demand Action' Advocates For Gun Control Legislation". Maine Public Radio.
  38. ^ Casale, Mary-Erin (March 1, 2018). "Gideon Remarks at Maine Gun Safety Coalition Event". Maine Legislature. Retrieved August 8, 2020.
  39. ^ "Ben Gideon".
  40. ^ Albair, Rebecca (July 2, 2012). "6-12-2012 Primary Election Representative to Legislature - Democratic" (XLSX). Maine Bureau of Corporations, Elections & Commissions. Retrieved March 15, 2020.
  41. ^ "November 6, 2012 General Election Tabulations State Representative by District and Town". Maine Bureau of Corporations, Elections & Commissions. November 2012. Retrieved March 15, 2020.
  42. ^ Albair, Rebecca (November 13, 2014). "Representative to the Legislature" (XLSX). Maine Bureau of Corporations, Elections & Commissions. Retrieved March 15, 2020.
  43. ^ Packard, Melissa (November 18, 2016). "Representative to the Legislature" (XLSX). Maine Bureau of Corporations, Elections & Commissions. Retrieved March 15, 2020.
  44. ^ Lajoie, Louisa (November 30, 2018). "State Representative" (XLSX). Maine Bureau of Corporations, Elections & Commissions. Retrieved March 15, 2020.
  45. ^ "Maine U.S. Senate Democratic Primary". Maine Secretary of State. August 8, 2020. Retrieved August 8, 2020.
  46. ^ "November 3, 2020 General Election". Maine Department of Secretary of State. Retrieved December 24, 2020.

External links[edit]

Maine House of Representatives
Preceded by
Charles Kruger
Member of the Maine House of Representatives
from the 48th district

Succeeded by
Melanie Sachs
Political offices
Preceded by
Speaker of the Maine House of Representatives
Succeeded by
Party political offices
Preceded by
Democratic nominee for U.S. Senator from Maine
(Class 2)

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