Sen. Susan Collins (R) has now made public her long-awaited decision about running for Governor next year. In a series of interviews on Friday, Sen. Collins indicated her belief that she can best help her constituency by staying in the Senate. Therefore, she will not run enter the 2018 open Governor’s contest. Sen. Collins was in favorable position to run for the state’s top post because she would not have had to risk her current position. Her particular Senate seat next comes in-cycle in 2020.
Originally, it looked like Ms. Collins might have a tough time securing the gubernatorial nomination against conservative former state Department of Health & Human Services Commissioner Mary Mayhew, but two more conservatives, State Senate Majority Leader Garrett Mason (R-Lisbon) and House Minority Leader Ken Fredette (R-Newport), have since become candidates. Therefore, with three candidates potentially fracturing the conservative primary vote, Sen. Collins would have had a reasonable path to the nomination, and certainly been favored in the general.
With multiple candidates from both parties already vying for their respective party nominations, and Maine having a history of electing Independents, this open race could become a toss-up. Gov. Paul LePage (R) is ineligible to seek a third term.
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