One Senate contest that has received little attention is characterized by widely divergent views as to how competitive it will be. Freshman Republican Sen. Susan Collins will face former state Senate President Chellie Pingree (D) in Maine, where Republicans have had their problems in recent years and where Collins was elected six years ago with just 49 percent of the vote. Collins has never been mentioned as one of the most endangered incumbents, but Republicans have long expressed caution about the race, since Maine can be hostile toward Republicans.

Pingree has made her focus the high cost of prescription drugs and the disparity between drug prices in the United States and those in Canada and Western Europe. While she is hardly a single-issue candidate, this is the crux of her campaign. In her last year as state Senate president, Pingree successfully shepherded legislation that created Maine Rx, a program that allows the state to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies for the best price, preferably one within 15 percent of Canadian prices. The program is being challenged in the courts and has

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