Susan Collins Won’t Run for Governor

By on October 13, 2017
Sen. Susan Collins

An unlikely ally in the fight against Trumpcare, Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) could have left the ranks of the upper chamber if she had managed to put together a successful gubernatorial run in Maine. She announced Friday, however, that she isn’t running for the seat.

If Collins were to have won the seat, it would have created an unusual conundrum for both Democrats and Republicans. She is considered one of the few true moderates left in the GOP and has been an ally of those fighting to preserve access to affordable healthcare. If she were to become governor, however, controversial Maine Gov. Paul LePage would get to appoint a replacement who would serve out her term, which ends in 2020. That replacement would most certainly not be as moderate as Collins.

“In the absence of Susan Collins, Maine becomes a whole different place,” said Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS) in a Politico interview.

Political winds are changing in the state, however. Former Maine Gov. turned Independent Sen. Angus King handily won his election bid in 2012. He caucuses with the Democratic party, and there’s a decent shot that a Democrat could win the state in 2020 if Collins does leave to become governor. That could be a key seat in the party’s four-year plan to retake the upper chamber, and one they weren’t necessarily expecting to be up for grabs.

The new Senator appointed by LePage would only have two years in office. But there’s a lot of damage that could be done in that two years, as we’ve seen by the sheer litany of awful bills the current GOP has tried to jam through Congress through the first ten months of this year.

With Collins choosing to stay, however, it keeps a moderate Republican in place until at least 2020. That’s likely good news since it’s hard telling what kind of far-right extremist LePage would have put in the seat.