Collins to remain in Senate, bypass run for ME governor

Collins to remain in Senate, bypass run for ME governor

U.S. Senator Susan Collins of ME, a moderate Republican who helped block her party's efforts to repeal Obamacare this year, said on Friday that she would not run for governor of her state next year, keeping her focus on Washington.

Ms. Collins, a Republican who was first elected to the Senate in 1996, has become a thorn in the side of President Trump, for whom she did not vote.

"This decision has not been any easy one".

The Republican senator said she made her decision based on where she could do the most for ME and the country.

"Let me address the elephant in the room" she said, at 8:20 a.m.", said Collins, who then said she will remain in the Senate and not run for governor, as has been discussed and speculated.

The announcement was met by a standing ovation from the audience of 230, almost double the previously most attended Chamber breakfast.

Collins is Maine's senior U.S. Senator, having held her seat as a Republican since 1997.

Collins announced her plans at a local Chamber of Commerce breakfast in Rockport.

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Had she run and won the race for governor in 2018, she would have become the first woman in ME to hold the office. Susan Collins, R-Maine, speaks at a news conference at Bath Iron Works in Bath, Maine.

Some of her supporters were anxious that leaving the Senate would have left Maine's pugnacious governor to appoint her replacement.

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.

And many Mainers have strong opinions about what Collins should do.

But there is little question that LePage would have opposed her even though she twice lended her support in his bids to take, and keep, the governor's office.

Her announcement Friday served as a reaffirmation of her desire to continue in that instrumental role, at a time when a growing number of Republicans worry about stopping Trump from making controversial decisions with far-reaching consequences.

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