Senator Susan Collins Will Not Run for Governor of Maine

Speculation regarding a potential Collins gubernatorial run had swirled for months.

Collins made her long-awaited announcement at a Friday, Oct. 13 breakfast meeting of the Penobscot Bay Regional Chamber of Commerce held at the Samoset Resort. Susan Collins announced Friday that she's staying out of the governor's race because she believes she can do more good for ME by staying in Washington. The governor then hammered her in July after her first vote against a Republican health care bill, telling supporters she'd "back down" from running for governor if they rejected her.

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. Most famously, she played a crucial role this summer in dooming his goal of repealing the Affordable Care Act.

Collins, who has served for two decades in the Senate, was part of the Gang of 14 bipartisan senators that prevented the so-called nuclear option by Senate Republicans over an organized use of the filibuster by Senate Democrats.

But her role has left her open to fire from both the right and the left. Additionally, Collins would have control of the state bureaucracy, potentially using it and the bully pulpit of the governor's office to advance a policy agenda to work on initiatives that could improve Maine's economic outlook. She also said she felt an affinity for Augusta, the capital, where a long line of ancestors served in the State Legislature, starting with her great-great grandfather and including her father. The only political race she lost was for governor, in 1994. She won her fourth. Her Senate term runs through 2020. She spoke of how she's proud of her time in the Senate, and how she felt as though she was able to represent ME well.

Collins ranks 15th in Senate seniority and is the most senior Republican woman.

LePage criticized Collins this year for saying Indiana's plan to expand Medicaid could be a model for Maine.

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