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Susan Collins. Photo by Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) is up against a steep challenge for her seat for the first time since 1996, according to a Colby College poll, which shows her in a statistical tie with her expected Democratic opponent.

Why it matters: As one of the most centrist Republicans in the Senate during Trump's presidency, Collins has served as a pivotal swing vote on a number of key issues.

  • She voted to confirm controversial U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh in 2018, and more recently she voted to acquit Trump in the impeachment trial.

Details: 43% of those polled indicated they would vote for Maine's House Speaker Sara Gideon in the November election, compared to the 42% who supported Collins.

  • 49% of respondents in the poll agreed with Collins' decision to acquit Trump, compared to 50% who did not. 39% of independents polled said the decision made them less likely to vote for Collins; 13% said it made them more likely to do so.

The state of play: Collins is among a handful of Republicans who Democrats are hoping to unseat in a bid to reclaim the Senate majority, per WSJ. Democrats would need to pick up four seats in 2020 to achieve a majority.

Methodology: The poll surveyed 1,008 registered Maine voters Feb. 10–13. The margin of error is ±3%.

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Biden holds first phone call with Putin, raises Navalny arrest

Putin takes a call in 2017. Photo: Handout/Anadolu Agency/Getty

President Biden on Tuesday held his first call since taking office with Vladimir Putin, pressing the Russian president on the arrest of opposition leader Alexey Navalny and the Russia-linked hack on U.S. government agencies, AP reports.

The state of play: Biden also planned to raise arms control, bounties allegedly placed on U.S. troops in Afghanistan and the war in Ukraine, according to White House press secretary Jen Psaki, who said the call took place while she was delivering a press briefing. Psaki added that a full readout will be provided later Tuesday.

Biden signs racial equity executive orders

Joe Biden prays at Grace Lutheran Church in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on September 3, 2020, in the aftermath of the police shooting of Jacob Blake. PHOTO: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

President Joe Biden on Tuesday signed executive orders on housing and ending the Justice Department's use of private prisons as part of what the White House is calling his “racial equity agenda.”

The big picture: Biden needs the support of Congress to push through police reform or new voting rights legislation. The executive orders serve as his down payment to immediately address systemic racism while he focuses on the pandemic.