ROCKPORT, Maine (AP) — Republican Sen. Susan Collins will end more than a year of speculation about her political future when she announces on Friday whether she is going to run for governor of her home state of Maine or stay in the Senate, where she has served for two decades.
The state’s senior senator planned to make her announcement at an event in Rockport after months of agonizing over where she can make the biggest difference.
If she runs for governor, she has said she would aim to restore civility after a sometimes stormy tenure by Republican Gov. Paul LePage, who was not afraid to ruffle feathers.
If she stays in the Senate, she would continue her role as a centrist who has been willing to cross the aisle and stand up to her own party and Republican President Donald Trump. She already has played a pivotal role in twice beating back the administration’s efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
The 64-year-old Collins does not shy away from her role in the middle. She has called for “fanatical moderates” to serve as an antidote to extremes of both parties in Washington. But that also has left her open to criticism from both the right and the left.
Some of her supporters were worried that leaving the Senate would have left Maine’s governor to appoint her replacement. But Maine constitutional law expert Marshall Tinkle said she would not have to resign to run and could pick her successor after being sworn in. Collins’ Senate term expires at the end of 2020.
LePage cannot run again because of term limits. There has been plenty of speculation about his political future, as well, but he has not announced his future plans. The election to replace him is in 2018.