Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, late Friday issued a glowing statement about Sen. Jeff Sessions’ nomination to become attorney general, a positive sign for the Alabama Republican’s path to confirmation.

With Republicans retaining only a narrow three-seat majority after the election, the Trump transition team is keeping a close watch on the reaction from the few centrist-leaning Republicans, such as Collins.

Collins, the last remaining Northeastern GOP centrist in the upper chamber, said she has known Sessions for nearly 20 years after they both came to Senate in 1997, and believes he has the character and qualifications to serve the country well as its top law enforcer.

“He is an individual who works hard, believes in public service and acts with integrity,” she said. “As a former U.S. attorney and former Alabama attorney general, Senator Sessions is well qualified and would serve our country well as United States Attorney General.”

With Collins on board, Sessions’ appointment faces a much easier path to confirmation with Senate Republicans from the Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to more independent-minded Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., all indicating their early support.

Republicans appear to have the necessary 51 votes confirm Sessions unless any new information surfaces.

Democrats changed the filibuster rules in 2013 to allow confirmation of a president’s nominations by a simple majority vote for all but Supreme Court picks.

But Democrats will undoubtedly dig into Sessions’ past, including the racist allegations that cost him a Senate confirmation for a federal judgeship in the 1980s, his far-right positions on immigration and his support for water-boarding suspected terrorists.

Sessions has the ultimate redemption story. After his failed nomination, he won a Senate campaign and was seated alongside the very Democratic senators who helped sink his judgeship, including then-Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., and the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass.

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Just hours after Trump announced Sessions’ nomination, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., called on him to rescind it, arguing that there can be no “compromise with racism.”

If Trump refuses, she pledged to work to ensure that the Senate exercises “fundamental and moral leadership” to reject his nomination in January.

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., who will take over as the Democratic leader at the end of the year, also said he was “very concerned” with Sessions’ potential actions regarding the Civil Rights Division and the Justice Department, and pledged to have “tough questions” for him during his confirmation hearings.

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