Collins to endorse LePage in Maine governor comeback bid

Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsFunding for victims of 'Havana syndrome' to be included in Pentagon bill  The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Uber - Biden makes his pitch as tax questions mount Emanuel defends handling of Chicago police shooting amid opposition to nomination MORE (R-Maine) will endorse former Republican Gov. Paul LePage as he seeks a third term in the governor's mansion, the senator’s office confirmed to The Hill.

“As Maine recovers from the pandemic, Paul is the best candidate to grow our economy,” Collins will say in a prerecorded one-minute video, according to the Portland Press Herald, which obtained the video and first reported Collins’s coming announcement.

LePage, who served two terms as governor from 2011 to 2019, is expected to make his bid official on Wednesday. He will challenge Gov. Janet MillsJanet MillsThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Uber - Democrats optimistic after Biden meetings Overnight Health Care — Presented by Carequest — FDA moves to sell hearing aids over-the-counter Supreme Court won't block vaccine mandate for Maine health care workers MORE (D), who succeeded him four years ago. Maine’s gubernatorial race is slated for November 2022. 

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“Paul and I believe that Maine’s small businesses our the backbone of our economy,” Collins will say, according to the news outlet. “We must support our job creators and Maine’s hard-working families. Paul is a job creator, that’s his background, he’s done it before and he will do it again.”

LePage has previously sought to align himself with former President TrumpDonald TrumpYoungkin ad features mother who pushed to have 'Beloved' banned from son's curriculum White House rejects latest Trump claim of executive privilege Democrats say GOP lawmakers implicated in Jan. 6 should be expelled MORE, telling a conservative radio host once, “I was Donald Trump before Donald Trump became popular.” He has also stumped at the former president's campaign events.

Collins was one of seven senators to vote to impeach Trump earlier this year. 

“This impeachment trial is not about any single word uttered by President Trump on Jan. 6, 2021. It is instead about President Trump’s failure to obey the oath he swore on Jan. 20, 2017. His actions to interfere with the peaceful transition of power — the hallmark of our Constitution and our American democracy — were an abuse of power and constitute grounds for conviction,” Collins said from the Senate floor after her vote in February.

LePage and Collins have also differed over policy, including when Collins voted against legislation that would have unraveled Affordable Care Act reforms, the Portland Press Herald noted. 

But LePage backed Collins during her during her reelection campaign in 2020 amid a competitive fight against Democratic challenger Sara Gideon.