Susan Collins, known as one of the last remaining “moderates” in the U.S. Senate, announced Friday that she will not run for governor of Maine, ending months of speculation. The four-term Republican senator, whose reputation is belied by her tendency to vote in line with Trump, made her announcement at the end of a Friday morning speech.
“I want to continue to play a key role in advancing policies that strengthen our nation, help our hard-working families, improve our health-care system, and bring peace and stability to a troubled and violent world,” Collins said. “And I have concluded that the best way I can contribute to these priorities is to remain a member of the United States Senate.”
A popular figure in Maine, Collins has previously spoken about the appeal of serving as governor, a job that would allow her to “work more directly on job creation.” On Friday, she said, “The hands-on nature of governor very much appeals to me.” With Governor Paul LePage, who’s kind of a Donald Trump in duck boots, term-limited out of office, Collins was seen as a strong candidate to keep the governor’s mansion in GOP hands.
It wouldn’t be a sure thing though. LePage has spent much of 2017 hammering Collins back home for opposing the GOP line on the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, opening her up to a Republican primary. Ultimately, it appears to have been the environment in Washington that’s convinced Collins to stay.
She is now the 15th-most senior senator and one of the body’s few swing votes. As she told Politico earlier this month, she likes that power. “Given the contentious environment in Washington right now, my voice and vote matter a great deal,” she said.