Sunday, 22 October, 2017

Maine's Susan Collins Says She's Staying in US Senate

Mark Dion Mark Dion
Bennie Garza | 13 October, 2017, 16:26

Since April, Ms. Collins, 64, has toyed publicly with the idea of running for governor, which was the first office she ran for, in 1994.

Friday morning at 8:00 a.m. Senator Susan Collins says she will announce whether she'll run to be the first female Governor or stay in the U.S. Senate.

She would have joined a crowded field in the race for governor to replace two-term Republican Gov. Paul LePage, who can not run again because of term limits. "Ultimately I've been guided by my sense of where I can do the most good for Maine and the nation", she said.

Collins has won her four senate contests by an average margin of 20 percentage points by drawing support across the political spectrum. Though she lost that race, she said she was still drawn to the ability of a governor to have a direct and immediate effect on people's lives by creating jobs and spurring economic development. Her Senate term runs through 2020.

Three Republican candidates are now in the race.

There are several Republicans already in the race to replace Governor Paul LePage when his term expires, including former Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Mary Mayhew, House Minority Leader Ken Fredette, and Senator Majority Leader Garrett Mason.

But a gubernatorial bid by Collins would also have been risky - the biggest threat coming from within her own party.

Recent, opinion polls released by partisan sources have offered conflicting evidence of how Collins would fare in a Republican primary contest.

LePage, whose combative style was a precursor of Donald Trump's approach to the presidency, has been a frequent critic of Collins, particularly when she attracted national attention as one of three Republican senators who in July voted against a Trump-backed bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Collins and LePage mark out the two poles of the state's Republican party, with the senator routinely working with Democrats in Washington while the governor has regularly fought with his rivals in the state capital Augusta.

A Collins governorship could have arguably reversed that trend.

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