Collins to make decision on governor bid by end of September
© Keren Carrion

GOP Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsStates fill family caregiver void left by Congress GOP senator: ObamaCare fix could be in funding bill Collins: Pass bipartisan ObamaCare bills before mandate repeal MORE will make a decision about whether to run for Maine governor by the end of September. 

Collins told WCSH that she was still weighing whether to stay in the Senate and hoped to discuss the decision with family and advisers next week. 

"I had scores of people saying we really need you in the Senate, your voice is important for Maine and nationally. On the other hand, I have people come up to me every day saying we need strong leadership in Augusta, someone who can work with Democrats and Republicans," she told the Maine TV station. 

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Collins isn't up for reelection for her Senate seat until 2020. She would have to resign her seat if she ran for governor and won, a move that could allow GOP Gov. Paul LePage, who is term limited, to pick her successor. 

As one of the Senate's most moderate Republicans, Collins has been at the center of the chamber's action this year — joining with GOP Sens. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiSenate bill would cut EPA funding by 0M GOP senator: ObamaCare fix could be in funding bill Collins: Pass bipartisan ObamaCare bills before mandate repeal MORE (Alaska) and John McCainJohn Sidney McCainTrump's dangerous Guantánamo fixation will fuel fire for terrorists Tech beefs up lobbying amid Russia scrutiny Ad encourages GOP senator to vote 'no' on tax bill MORE (Ariz.) to block the "skinny" ObamaCare repeal bill — and is poised to have an influential role in Congress's fall fights. 

Collins said she's been discussing a potential bid for the state's top office since shortly after she won reelection to the Senate in 2014, adding that the role would be more "hands on." 

But she noted that her work in the Senate, particularly her attempts to work with Democrats, "is very important, perhaps more important than ever in some ways."  

A source told a separate Maine TV station, WMTV, that Collins was now leaning more toward running for governor than she was earlier in the summer. But a spokeswoman for Colllins disputed that, saying she is neither closer nor farther away from making a decision. 

Collins, who ran for governor in 1994 and lost to now-Sen. Angus KingAngus Stanley KingFeinstein seeks contact with FBI informant in Russia nuclear bribery case Overnight Finance: Trump calls for ObamaCare mandate repeal, cuts to top tax rate | Trump to visit Capitol Hill in tax reform push | CBO can't do full score before vote | Bipartisan Senate bill would ease Dodd-Frank rules Overnight Regulation: Bipartisan Senate bill would curb Dodd-Frank rules | Opioid testing rule for transport workers finalized | Google faces state antitrust probe | Dems want investigation into FCC chief MORE (I), has drawn speculation about a potential 2018 gubernatorial run for years.