Republican Sen. Collins considering run for Maine governor in 2018

Victoria Sarno Jordan

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said on Tuesday that she is considering running for governor next year.

Asked if she would run for her state’s top office, the Maine Republican told a local radio station that she is “trying to figure out where I can do the most good.”

“I’m being totally honest with you, I truly don’t know. I really don’t. It’s a hard decision,” Collins told WGAN when asked about her political plans. 

Paul LePage, Maine’s current GOP governor who has been involved in a string of controversies, is term-limited. Under the state’s constitution, a governor can only serve two back-to-back four-year terms. LePage was elected in 2010 and reelected in 2014.

Collins, who ran for governor in 1994 and lost to now-Sen. Angus King (I), has drawn speculation about a potential 2018 gubernatorial run for years. 

{mosads}Her office has previously demurred, with a spokeswoman telling the Portland Press Herald last year that she is “focused on her job representing Maine in the United States Senate.”

Collins said during her interview on Tuesday that both positions, either remaining in the Senate or running for governor, would have their advantages.

“In the Senate I now have significant seniority and that allows me to do a lot. Coming to be governor, if I were fortunate enough to be elected … you can work on issues that I care a lot about like economic development, jobs, education, and I would try to heal the state and bring people back together,” she said. 

Collins has been at the center of the Senate’s action so far this year, joining with Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) to oppose Betsy DeVos’s nomination as Education secretary and forcing Vice President Pence to cast a historic tie-breaking vote on a Cabinet nominee. 

She’s also offered a healthcare bill with Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) that was backed by some of her GOP colleagues after the House ObamaCare repeal-and-replace effort hit a wall, and she spearheaded talks to try to preserve the 60-vote filibuster for Supreme Court nominees during the fight on Justice Neil Gorsuch’s nomination. 

Collins isn’t up for reelection for her Senate seat until 2020. She would have to resign her Senate seat if she ran for governor and won, a move that could allow LePage to pick her successor. 

Tags Angus King Lisa Murkowski Susan Collins

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