Independent U.S. Senate candidate Max Linn is pictured in this 2018 file photo. On Tuesday, he reneged on a vow to quit the 2020 race, saying he would only bow out to endorse Sen. Susan Collins if she backed five core policies. Credit: Christopher Cousins / BDN

In a strange twist on Tuesday after saying he would end his campaign, independent U.S. Senate candidate Max Linn told reporters he would only quit to endorse Sen. Susan Collins if the Republican incumbent endorses five of his preferred policies.

Linn, a financial planner from Bar Harbor, is one of two unenrolled candidates who qualified for the ballot in November, along with former Green Party candidate Lisa Savage. Collins is facing House Speaker Sara Gideon, a Democrat, in one of the nation’s most highly watched U.S. Senate races. The race will use ranked-choice voting.

Earlier this month, a Collins ally challenged Linn’s signature collection but later withdrew the challenge to the Bar Harbor businessman’s candidacy. Linn said Tuesday that he had both political offers and “personal threats” to drop out before coming to his decision on the terms under which he would do so. On Thursday, a spokesman said Linn would end his campaign.

But in a Zoom press conference Tuesday where he did not take questions, Linn said he would drop out of the race and endorse Collins if she supported a mixed bag of policies that are both to the left and right of the incumbent Republican. 

He said they were a five-year ban on all immigration, opposing the Central Maine Power hydropower corridor, broad student loan relief, giving $5,000 to every family by next June as well as additional relief for small businesses and endorsing term limits, which Collins originally campaigned on when she first ran for Senate in 1996.

Linn previously tried to run for Senate in 2018, but was disqualified from the Republican primary to challenge Sen. Angus King due to fraudulent nominating signatures. He emerged in Maine politics as a pro-President Donald Trump conservative after moving to the state from Florida, where he had a colorful political history that included a third-party gubernatorial run.

Collins famously opposed Trump prior to the 2016 election and has repeatedly declined to say whether she supports him this year. Linn gave an Aug. 3 deadline for Collins to respond to his demands. Collins’ campaign did not immediately respond to an inquiry about Linn on Tuesday.