Maine's Susan Collins declines gov run, will remain in Senate

A moderate Republican with vast influence over transportation funding affairs in the Senate announced her intention to seek another term in office and not pursue the governor's mansion in her home state of Maine.

Maine's senior senator ended months of speculation about her interest in being Maine's next governor by telling 225 attendees at the Penobscot Bay Regional Chamber of Commerce's quarterly business breakfast in Rockport this morning that she could do more good for ME by staying in Washington. The Senator began her career in electoral politics with a run as the Republican nominee for Governor in 1994 in a race that was ultimately won by Angus King, who ran as an Independent in a race in which Collins finished third behind King and the Democratic nominee that year. On Friday, she said, "The hands-on nature of governor very much appeals to me". "She has been a champion for the state of Maine for more than two decades and I consider it a great privilege to serve with her - and to be her friend". Outgoing Maine Gov. Paul LePage, a Republican ally of Trump, is barred from running again due to term limits.

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

The audience applauded but still seemed uncertain of her decision, as she continued. King and Collins, of course, now serve together in the Senate. In May, Politico reported that Collins and Murkowski "both oppose the bill's attempts to defund Planned Parenthood", which is a primary health care provider for millions of women, gender minorities, and low-income Americans. In addition to the fact that she is fairly high up in Senate tenure, Collins is now arguably at the height of her power and relevance as a Senator, a position that is only likely to increase in the future.

There has been speculation for months on whether she would leave the Senate to run for the Blaine House.

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Collins was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1996, and she has remained as one of Maine's representatives in Washington, D.C. since then.

"This bipartisan bill is the product of considerable negotiation and compromise and makes the necessary investments in our nation's infrastructure", Collins said in July.

On Friday, Collins said that "getting health care reform right requires starting it right, with a commitment to public hearings, open negotiations, thoughtful and fact-based discussion, and a willingness to find common ground". Finally, given the narrow margin that the GOP now has in the Senate, Collins is an important voice that can't simply be ignored by Senate Majority Leader McConnell and the rest of the Senate GOP leadership.

"In the Senate, I now have significant seniority, and that allows me to do a lot", she told Maine's WGAN radio at the time.

It wouldn't be a sure thing though.

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