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Maine Sen. Susan Collins to marry

February 3, 2012
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PORTLAND, Maine—U.S. Sen. Susan Collins is engaged to a veteran political aide who works as a consultant in Washington, and they plan to wed this summer in a private ceremony.

The Maine Republican said she and Thomas Daffron share a passion for the outdoors and a good book, and she described him as a bright man and a longtime friend who appreciates a good joke.

"He's extraordinarily smart, has a wonderful sense of humor and is a great friend," Collins, 59, told the Bangor Daily News. "Those qualities matter a lot to me."

The two became engaged Sunday. Collins couldn't be reached Friday because she was attending a security conference in Munich.

Collins, first elected to the U.S. Senate in 1996, says the wedding may be in Caribou, where she was born, or in her adopted hometown of Bangor. No date has been set.

"Senator Collins and Mr. Daffron are very happy and they look forward to celebrating this wonderful occasion with their families," said Kevin Kelley, Collins' spokesman.

Daffron, 73, is chief operating officer of Jefferson Consulting Group. He's a former chief of staff to Sens. William Cohen of Maine, Fred Thompson of Tennessee and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and was national presidential campaign manager for Elizabeth Dole.

He also consulted for Collins.

The two began dating two years ago but the first public hint that they were a couple came a year ago, when Collins and Daffron together purchased a $705,000 town house in the District of Columbia.

Even after she's married, Collins still plans to return home each weekend to Maine, where she has a home in Bangor and a camp on Cold Stream Pond, just as she always has, her office said.

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