Sen. Collins to announce this morning whether she will run for governor

Sen. Collins to announce this morning whether she will run for governor

She says while she would love being in ME full-time where most of her family and friends are, she can do the most good for Mainers and the nation by staying in the U.S. Senate.

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.

The Republican senator said she made her decision based on where she could do the most for ME and the country.

Now in her fourth term in Washington, she ranks 15th among the 100 senators in seniority and appears to be at the height of her power.

Collins, 64, is popular in the state, having won re-election in 2014 with 68 percent of the vote.

The Maine Republican made her announcement in the coastal Maine town of Rockport, at a Penobscot County Chamber of Commerce breakfast.

It would not be Collins' first shot at the Augusta state house.

Republicans are now trying for a sweeping rewrite of the nation's tax laws, which many of them hope will wash away some of the deep anger in the party after the health-care failure.

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.

But there is little question that LePage would have opposed her even though she twice lended her support in his bids to take, and keep, the governor's office.

Collins is seen as the most middle-of-the-road Republican in the Senate, willing to buck Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) when she disagrees with them.

LePage is an ally of President Donald Trump, whom Collins has publicly criticized in the past. Nonetheless, he has fundamentally altered the state's political landscape, punishing Democrats and Republicans alike with rhetoric and deeds.

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