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AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) - Political observers say the recent string of endorsements Republican Sen. Susan Collins has received from national groups that traditionally support liberal candidates signals the uphill battle Democrat Shenna Bellows faces in unseating the popular incumbent.

On Monday, Collins' picked up the support of the League of Conservation Voters. It comes on the heels of an endorsement by the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest LGBT advocacy organization. Both have supported Collins before.

Bellows says that Washington organizations have a stake in keeping an incumbent in office. She says she's inspired by her strong grassroots support.

But Collins' campaign contends the endorsements show that the liberal coalition isn't lining up behind Bellows. Political observers say the organizations likely acknowledge that Bellows has a tough race and don't want to alienate Collins.

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