Published: Fri, October 13, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

Susan Collins Decides Against Gubernatorial Run

Susan Collins Decides Against Gubernatorial Run

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.

Collins told a gathering in Rockport this morning that her seniority in the U.S. Senate has allowed her to secure vital funding for various programs and organizations in Maine. Susan Collins, R-Maine, speaks at a news conference at Bath Iron Works in Bath, Maine.

Her announcement ends widespread speculation that the 20-year veteran of the Senate would return to ME and seek to finish her political career in the governor's mansion - a position denied to her in 1994 when she finished third in a five-way race. She opposed two different efforts to dismantle and replace the Affordable Care Act earlier this year, citing the negative impact she believed the plans would have had on vulnerable Americans, particularly in Maine.

LePage is an ally of President Donald Trump, whom Collins has publicly criticized in the past.

After Collins refused to support Trump, LePage said she was "done in ME". Prior to her announcement, she said she wanted to "heal ME", a comment read by some as a swipe at LePage's polarizing style.

In a Senate where Republicans hold a slim 52-48 majority and Democrats are broadly united against much of Trump's agenda, Collins's vote can be pivotal. Gov. Paul R. LePage, a fellow Republican who is barred by term limits from seeking a third term, has been stirring the political pot against her. Ms. Collins, a moderate who has glided to victory in her recent elections, this time faced the likely prospect of bruising and expensive attacks from the right. Her Senate term runs through 2020.

She said that she will remain in the U.S. Senate. But Maine constitutional law expert Marshall Tinkle said she wouldn't have to resign to run and could pick her successor after being sworn in.

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