Maine Sen. Susan Collins Announces She's Staying in US Senate

13 October, 2017, 16:08 | Author: Lula Armstrong
  • Sen. Susan Collins R-Maine speaks at a news conference at Bath Iron Works in Bath Maine. Collins said she will decide during the Columbus Day recess whether to stay in the U.S. Senate or again run for governor

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.

Collins put an end to months of speculation when she made her announcement at the Samoset Resort in Rockport Friday morning. Susan Collins announced Friday that she will remain in the U.S. Senate and bypass a run for governor. Collins, first elected in 1996, is now serving her fourth term in the Senate.

Maine's current governor, Paul LePage, a Trump ally, would have appointed a replacement for Collins if she made a decision to leave the Senate.

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As she weighed the decision, Collins consistently sounded torn between her power in the Senate, as a senior Republican in the majority and a moderate whose vote is often courted by leadership in both parties, and the possibility of taking action as governor without the need for cooperation from fifty-plus other senators.

And that's that the Maine Republican Party still has faces the choice between being the party of Susan Collins and Bill Cohen or the party of Paul LePage and Donald Trump.

"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.

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But a gubernatorial bid by Collins would also have been risky - the biggest threat coming from within her own party. Though she lost that race, she said she was still drawn to the ability of a governor to have a direct and immediate effect on people's lives by creating jobs and spurring economic development.

Recent, opinion polls released by partisan sources have offered conflicting evidence of how Collins would fare in a Republican primary contest.

Collins, 64, has the lowest Liberty Score of any elected Republican in Congress - voting with conservatives on key issues just 12 percent of the time. State laws forbid LePage from seeking a third term. 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.

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

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