October 13, 2017

Collins opts to stay in U.S. Senate, won't run for governor

Courtesy / Office of U.S. Sen. Susan Collins
Courtesy / Office of U.S. Sen. Susan Collins
U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, ended months of speculation by announcing today that she will not run for governor in the 2018 election. Collins told 225 attendees at the Penobscot Bay Regional Chamber of Commerce’s quarterly business breakfast in Rockport this morning that she could do more good for Maine by staying in Washington.

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, won't be running for Maine governor in 2018.

Maine's senior senator ended months of speculation about her interest in being Maine's next governor by telling 225 attendees at the Penobscot Bay Regional Chamber of Commerce's quarterly business breakfast in Rockport this morning that she could do more good for Maine by staying in Washington.

"These are difficult times in our country and the Senate reflects the discord and division that characterize our nation today," Collins stated in her prepared speech, which was sent by her office to Mainebiz. "One of my Senate colleagues wrote me a lovely note urging me to stay in the Senate, saying: 'The institution would suffer in your absence. While the temptation might be to walk away and leave the problems to others, there are very few who have the ability to bring about positive change. You are such a person.'

"As I thought about this Senator's words, I realized how much remains to be done in a divided and troubled Washington if we are to serve the people of our states. I have demonstrated the ability to work across the aisle, to build coalitions, and to listen to the people of my state and my country. The challenges we face today are enormous — from frustrated families with stagnant wages and expensive health care to a nuclear-armed North Korea and Russian interference in the very fabric of our democracy, our elections.

"I am a congenital optimist, and I continue to believe that Congress can — and will — be more productive. I want to continue to play a key role in advancing policies that strengthen our economy, help our hard-working families, improve our health care system, and bring peace and stability to a violent and troubled world.

"And I have concluded that the best way that I can contribute to these priorities is to remain a member of the United States Senate."

King issues statement

U.S. Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, issued the following statement in response to Collins' announcement:

"I know Susan's decision to continue serving Maine in the Senate was not an easy one and, not surprisingly, her announcement today reflects her commitment to putting Maine people first. The work she does for Maine — while rarely easy and often understated — is a reflection of her work ethic and her infinite energy to serve the people of our state. She has been a champion for the state of Maine for more than two decades and I consider it a great privilege to serve with her — and to be her friend."

Lots of Republicans, Democrats running

Collins' announcement still leaves a crowded GOP field of candidates who'll be running in next spring's primary to be the party's candidate on the November 2018 ballot. Candidates who've already announced are former Maine Health and Human Services Commissioner Mary Mayhew, House Minority Leader Ken Fredette and Senate Majority Leader Garrett Mason.

The Bangor Daily News reported earlier this week that Gorham businessman Shawn Moody, founder of the employee-owned Moody's Collision Centers, fueled speculation that he plans to join that field with his announcement that he's joined the Republican Party and planned to formally declare his candidacy shortly before Thanksgiving. Moody ran unsuccessfully as an independent in the 2010 gubernatorial election.

Democratic Party candidates who've announced plans to run for governor include Maine Attorney General Janet Mills, former Speaker of the House Mark Eves, former four-term state Rep. Diane Russell of Portland and state Sen. Mark Dion, who also has served as a former Cumberland County sheriff.


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